Summary of responses to "NFS over the Internet"

Thu, 7 Apr 1988 13:42:47.85 EDT

I received enough requests for a summary of repsonses to my earlier
posting to warrant posting the summary to the net. As Barry Shein
suggests, "the concept is not nearly as wild as [it might seem]".

- Ralph Droms
  Computer Science Department
  Bucknell University

From: edu%"" 31-MAR-1988 13:46

at one point, i mounted or /usr/src/X
(not certain anymore which) from this was last
summer and throughput was low, but it worked. i don't recall doing
anything special, simply did a mount hoser:directory /n/hoser/directory

From: EDU%"" 1-APR-1988 04:48

As far as NFS over a serial line I tried it one evening over our 9.6Kb
Cypress line between BU and UCB. It really wasn't bad, NFS is not a
particularly high overhead protocol, the info being exchanged is
fairly similar to what gets exchanged in an FTP session (DIR,GET,PUT
etc.) Of course this disregards transmission problems which I didn't
seem to have that evening, the question was thruput.

It's probably an intuitive confusion that because NFS is so useful and
neat that it must therefore demand massive bandwidth (or perhaps
people are mixing the thought with ND, the diskless protocol?)

Doubtless you'd want your binaries local but as a very easy to use
"ftp" (eg. snooping around directories, copying stuff, file
management) it's really not bad on a relatively slow line in my
experience, perhaps a little slower than FTP but being able to use the
native OS interface to the remote file system can make it worthwhile.

Note that there are various timeout parameters etc that would need to
be tuned (can be set on a per mount basis) for smooth performance, but
the concept is not nearly as wild as seems to be presented here.

    -Barry Shein, Boston University
From: EDU%"pdb@SEI.CMU.EDU" 1-APR-1988 12:29

I've done it. (I only lose on one qualification - I had it running between
two LANs, and the traffic had to cross the ARPANET to get between them.
But I administer both those LANs.)

From: edu%"" 1-APR-1988 17:19

We run NFS between departments all the time. In different buildings
through 2 gateways. We also know people who have mounted our disks
across the Arpanet, but this was done just as a hack, for a few
minutes. Note that when we do it between our departments, we require
that all the departments involved coordinate their uid allocation,
since otherwise there are security problems.
From: NET%"roy%phri@uunet.UU.NET" 2-APR-1988 11:56

    I remember reading a while ago that Rob Liebschutz (
and/or and Mel Pleasant ( had
tried remote mounting an NFS file system at Intelligenetics in California from
Rutgers in New Jersey over the Internet. Supposedly they had no problems.
You might try asking Rob or Mel for more details.

Roy Smith, {allegra,cmcl2,philabs}!phri!roy
System Administrator, Public Health Research Institute
455 First Avenue, New York, NY 10016
From:	EDU%"sy.Ken@CU20B.COLUMBIA.EDU"	30-MAR-1988 11:38

We use NFS disk mounts between here and another machine (the exact whereabouts I can't tell you, but it's not on this campus), separated by a T1 circuit. Seems to work quite well, although is, of course, a bit slower than you would get off the direct ether.

As for disjoint administrations, we are Columbia University, and the disks we mount belong to the NYSER Network Information machine.

/Ken ------- From: EDU%"sy.Ken@CU20B.COLUMBIA.EDU" 30-MAR-1988 16:32

OK, well, that's not us, I guess... however, the technical (mechanical) aspects of such a hookup work well. The NYSER disks look like real local disks to us, and even with the distance separating us, we get pretty decent response time. Can't say anything about administrative aspects concerning common roots and all that, though... /Ken ------- From: GOV%"cpw%sneezy@LANL.GOV" 30-MAR-1988 19:57

As a lark, I mounted an NFS filesystem in La Jolla, CA. The linkage was:

[Client]-ethernet (Los Alamos, NM) | IP router -- ethernet | IP router -- 19.2 serial line -- IP router | ethernet - [File Server] (La Jolla, CA)

By the way, one could consider this a security breach. In fact one did, after I told them about it. This is a pet gripe of mine: Sun ships their systems WIDE OPEN, and its up to the user to shut them down. I think it should be the other way around.

wood, cornett philip (

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