If you don’t like acronyms, you should avoid this chapter. It’s full of acronyms of the worst kind—the three-lettered devils. NFS, SMB and AFS are three different versions of the same concept each with its own uniquely annoying acronym. What they all have in common is the fact that they are network-driven file systems. Maybe that point alone was enough to provide an educated guess as to what the FS stands for? Let’s fill in the other blanks as well.
One of the most commercially successful and widely available remote-file system protocols is the Network File System (NFS), designed by Sun Microsystems. NFS is the most widely used file system found on network servers. It currently serves more data in volume than any other network file system in the world.
Two components are important to the success of NFS. First, Sun placed the protocol specification for NFS in the public domain. Second, Sun sells that implementation to all people who want it, for less than the cost of implementing it themselves. As a result, many vendors chose to buy the Sun implementation. They are willing to buy from Sun because they know that they can always legally write their own implementation if the price of the Sun implementation ever rises to an unreasonable level.
The Server Message Block (SMB) protocol is a protocol created by Microsoft for sharing files, printers, serial ports, and communications abstractions between Windows-based computers. It’s a relatively simple system with a design focused on ease of information exchange rather than security or administrative control. SMB is the most commonly used file system, and is used by the more computers than any
other file system in the world.
The Andrew File System (AFS) is a distributed file system that enables cooperating hosts (clients and servers) to efficiently share file system resources across both local area and wide area networks. AFS was originally developed at Carnegie-
Mellon University, but is now marketed, maintained, and extended by the Transarc Corporation. AFS is mostly used in academic circles and rarely seen in modern operating
The above information is the start of a chapter in "Network Security Illustrated," published by McGraw-Hill and available from amazon.com, as well as your local bookstore. The book goes into much greater depth on this topic. To learn more about the book and what it covers, click here.
Below, you'll find links to online resources that supplement this portion of the book.