File Serving

It is convenient for students and faculty to have access to their files no matter what computer they're using, so many universities provide some sort of network storage. Requirements for a network storage system include: The building block services for a network storage system include: Oddly enough, it seems there is currently only one choice for the File Serving service that meets all the above requirements: AFS (in the form of OpenAFS). That dictates several other choices: AFS requires Kerberos as its user authentication service, and Kerberos requires NTP as its time synchronization service. Both probably require DNS as their hostname lookup service.

The user directory service role can be played by several systems. Fermilab uses a text file (yes, a text file), MIT uses Hesiod, and Active Directory could be used. Jason Heiss' excellent document "Replacing NIS with Kerberos and LDAP" shows how to use OpenLDAP for this.

Likewise, there are many packages that can provide domain name service; I suspect most organizations are using the standard DNS package from Filling in these choices in the above list of services, here are the main packages needed to deploy network storage to the campus:

All of these are available for free download for all popular operating systems, and offer excellent security, good performance, and low cost.

That said, setting up network storage with OpenLDAP, Kerberos 5, and OpenAFS takes lots of learning, experimentation, and planning. (NTP and ISC Bind are fairly easy by comparison, which should give you some idea how complex setting up the others are!)

Related Pages


AFS Links

Note that AFS requires Kerberos, so many of these AFS links will also cover Kerberos.

Kerberos Links

Windows Clients authenticating against MIT Kerberos Servers

Linux Clients authenticating against Microsoft Active Directory Servers

MacOSX Clients authenticating against MIT Kerberos Servers

LDAP Links

File Serving Protocols / Packages

Besides AFS, that is.

Other Links

Found while searching for 'windows interoperability' and 'network file sharing windows linux' etc. Sorted by URL for now - I'll categorize them later... apologies for the mess.