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Ask Microsoft: Need help installing Server for NFS

Microsoft Software design engineer Jeff Biseda offers advice on how to allow a Unix server to access NFS shares.

On a regular basis, top Microsoft executives answer readers' toughest technical questions about Windows-based systems. This installment of "Ask Microsoft" was answered by Jeff Biseda, Microsoft software design engineer.

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Question: I am trying to run Windows Services for UNIX (SFU version 3.5) on a server running Windows Server 2003 to allow me to create NFS shares on a Windows server. My hardware vendor tells me that because my server is part of an Active Directory domain I should be running SFU on a domain controller for it to work properly. Microsoft documentation indicates that I could run SFU version 3.5 on my server and not have to add it to a domain controller. Can you clarify for me whether I have to have SFU loaded on a domain controller? Or, can I just have it loaded on my local server using user-named mapping tables to allow the UNIX server to access the NFS share I will create?

Answer: Server for NFS can be run on any machine. If you plan to map UNIX users to domain users and the domain is running at less than Windows 2003 functional level then the ness sub-authentication package (nfssa.dll) must be installed on all DCs for the domain.

If you just want to use local user accounts then you can install Server for NFS and username mapping server on any machine and not have to worry about anything DC related.

A few more points:

  • NFS on Windows Storage Server requires at least hot fix 828878 to work without nfssa.dll.
  • Username mapping service can be installed on any machine (handy for distributed/large environments), but has the following requirements for that to work:
    * Each NFS server or other SFU machines must be explicitly configured (in the SFU Admin console) to use the remote UNM server.
    * The UNM server must have its %SFUDIR%\mapper\.maphosts file modified to allow remote machines to access it (instructions in the file).

-- Jeff Biseda, software design engineer

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