Chapter 10. Network File Systems and Directory Services

IN THIS CHAPTER

  • Sharing files using NFS and CIFS

  • The NFS automounter

  • The name service switch

  • Setting up NIS clients

  • Setting up NIS master and slave servers

  • LDAP and OpenSolaris

The motivation for creating computer networks is to share information. In Chapter 9, you learned how to use the basic Internet protocols to transfer information between systems using programs such as ftp. However, copying files from system to system creates the problem of efficiently distributing copies and keeping them consistent. File synchronization programs exist, but it's usually more convenient to store files centrally and access them just like a file that's stored on a local disk, a concept known as a network file system. Sun long ago created the Network File System (NFS) to provide exactly this service. Microsoft created the Common Internet File System (CIFS) to provide similar functionality for the Windows operating system. OpenSolaris includes both client and server software for both NFS and CIFS.

In most networks of any size it's also desirable to share and synchronize system configuration data, such as user accounts, among systems. Again, it's possible to use synchronization software to distribute files such as /etc/passwd among a set of systems, but such a solution doesn't scale well. It's also possible to use a network file system for this purpose, but most uses of such configuration data involve searching for only a specific entry. Clearly, in ...

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