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20.1 Distributed File Systems

20.1.2 The Remote File Sharing System

The Remote File Sharing system, was developed by AT&T to allow UNIX workstations to share files over a network. It allows workstations to act as clients of servers.

RFS provides access to files and directories without the user having to know where the resource is located. A nameserver is used to register resource names, so the client machine doesn't need to know where the resources are. Resources are moved simply by changing entries in the nameserver registry.

RFS allows users to mount special directories so that they can share devices (e.g. tape drives) residing on other machines.

RFS is a stateful protocol; the server maintains state information of local resources. The server knows what each client is doing to it's files at all times. The server can detect client crashes, so cache consistency is guaranteed.

RFS can NOT be used to boot diskless clients.

RFS does NOT support symbolic linking or automounting.

RFS does NOT support mounting of a directory on top of an existing RFS directory.

Unix System Administration - 8 AUG 1996
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