Samba vs NFS

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Samba vs NFS

Postby pythoncoder » Thu Jun 21, 2012 3:29 pm

I'm puzzled that articles in Linux Format seem to concentrate on Samba rather than NFS. Reviews of NAS boxes seldom mention it as a feature and the recent one on using a Pi as a NAS box was entirely based on Samba.

Six years ago, as a Linux newbie, I bought a Qnap NAS box which supported only Samba. I experienced numerous problems relating to file ownership and permissions. Wiser heads than I pointed out the differences between the Windows and Linux permissions models and suggested replacing it with a more recent box which supported NFS. From the moment I did so the mount worked just like a local drive. Magic!

While Samba is great for connecting Windows boxes to a server it seems odd to recommend a Windows protocol to connect a Linux desktop to a Linux server. Why put up with the oddities which are particularly confusing to newbies?

Has Samba got better in the years since I used it or am I missing something?

Regards, Pete
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Postby wyliecoyoteuk » Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:14 pm

NFS is great in a static LInux only network, but it lacks flexibility, which is why Samba gets used.
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Postby Dutch_Master » Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:46 pm

Moreover: many environments, including but not exclusively, domestic and SOHO, are at best mixed to start with, with non-Linux OS's dominant... So you'd need Samba anyway. True, I too prefer the simplicity of NFS but as WC already mentioned, that's quite exclusively the domain of Linux/Unix/BSD...
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Postby wyliecoyoteuk » Fri Jun 22, 2012 10:19 am

Actually, Win7 has an NFS client, but setting up NFS in a mixed environment is not trivial.(nor is Samba for that matter, but there are more user friendly tools for it)

From what I remember from the last time I tried to use it, NFS seems to assume servers that are on 24/7, and things can get messy if you connect to another desktop machine, for example.

Apparently NFSv3 is easy but lacks good security, whereas NFSv4 has good security but is more complex
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Postby nelz » Fri Jun 22, 2012 10:50 am

NFS gets pretty sulky if a server holding a mounted share goes away.
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Postby pythoncoder » Fri Jun 22, 2012 12:20 pm

wyliecoyoteuk wrote:NFS is great in a static LInux only network, but it lacks flexibility, which is why Samba gets used.

When I had a Windows box it talked to the NAS box using Samba while my Linux boxes used NFS. It worked far better than using Samba throughout for the reasons I cited.

However mine is a simple home network. But I surely wasn't the only newbie to struggle with this issue and to be rescued by NFS!

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Postby wyliecoyoteuk » Fri Jun 22, 2012 3:42 pm

Oh Yes, with a static 24/7 server like a NAS, it is a nice simple solution.
Not everyone has that sort of setup however, although it is becoming more common now.
Samba gets used more because a lot of people have 2 or 3 workstations that they want to file share between without a file server, and NFS does not suit that.
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