Once you have TCP/IP enabled on your system, you may wish to configure your system to use the Network File System (NFS) or Network Information Service (NIS). NFS allows your system to share files directly with a network of machines. File access across NFS is transparent; you simply access the files as if they were stored on your local disk. In system administration terms, one system mounts another’s filesystem on a local directory, just as a local filesystem can be mounted. NFS also allows you to export filesystems, allowing other systems on the network to mount your disks directly.
NIS (formerly known as the Yellow Pages, or YP,
service) is a system that allows your host to obtain information
automatically on user accounts, groups, filesystem mount points, and
other system databases from servers on the network. For example,
let’s say you have a large collection of machines
that should have the same user accounts and groups (information
usually found in
/etc/group). Users should be able to log into
any of these machines and access their files directly (say, by
mounting their home filesystem from a central location using
NFS). Obviously, maintaining user accounts across
many machines would be problematic; in order to add a new user, you
would need to log into each machine and create the user account on
each. When you use NIS, however, the system automatically consults centrally maintained databases across the network for such information, ...