NFS File System Model and the Mount Protocol
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Since NFS is used by a client to simulate access to remote directories of files as if they were local, the protocol must present the files from the remote system to the local user. Just as files on a local storage device are arranged using a particular file system, NFS too uses a file system model to represent how files are shown to a user.
The file system model used by NFS is the same one that most of us are familiar with: a hierarchical arrangement of directories that contain files and subdirectories. The top of the hierarchy is the root, which contains any number of files and first level directories. Each directory may contain more files or other directories, allowing an arbitrary tree structure to be created.
A file can be uniquely specified by using its file name and a path name that shows the sequence of directories one must traverse from the root to find the file. Since NFS is associated with UNIX, files in NFS discussions are usually shown in UNIX notation; for example, /etc/hosts. The same basic tree idea can also be expressed using the method followed by Microsoft operating systems: C:\WINDOWS\HOSTS.
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