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Microsoft Services for Network File System

Applies To: Windows Server 2003 R2

Microsoft® Services for Network File System (NFS) provides a file sharing solution for enterprises that have a mixed Windows and UNIX environment. With Microsoft Services for NFS, you can transfer files between computers running Microsoft Windows Server™ 2003 R2 and UNIX operating systems using the NFS protocol.

Microsoft Services for NFS is an update to the NFS components that were previously available in Windows® Services for UNIX 3.5. Microsoft Services for NFS includes the following new features:

Microsoft Services for NFS enables you to support a mixed environment of Windows-based and UNIX-based operating systems. It also allows you to update your company's computers while supporting older technology during the transition phase. The following scenarios are examples of how enterprises can benefit from deploying Microsoft Services for NFS.

Microsoft Services for Network File System

NFS Authentication

User Name Mapping Service

What It Does

The User Name Mapping Service is the core authentication component of SFUv3. Whenever a UNIX user requests access to a Windows resource, or a Windows user requests access to a UNIX resource, User Name Mapping Service must map the UNIX user to the proper Windows user, or vice-versa.

While User Name Mapping Service is at the core of the authentication processes for SFUv3, it doesn't actually do the authentication. The authentication is performed by either the Windows Domain Controller if the access permissions requested are those of a Windows user, or the UNIX authentication mechanism if the access permissions are those of a UNIX user.

What Actually Happens?

When a UNIX user requests access to a file or folder (object) stored on a Windows NFS share, the first step is for the User Name Mapping Service to translate the UNIX user into the mapped Windows user. The request for access to the Windows object is then authenticated against a Windows Domain Controller using the SID of the mapped Windows user. If the mapped Windows user has the appropriate access permissions, the UNIX user who initiated the request is granted access to the object. Conversely, if the Windows user does not have sufficient permission to access the object, access is denied to the UNIX user. If the UNIX user doesn't have a mapped Windows account, or the User Name Mapping Server can’t be reached, the access is not mapped to a Windows user and thus the permissions of an anonymous user are used.

When a Windows user tries to access an object stored on a UNIX computer, the same process is used, in reverse, with one important difference – if User Name Mapping Server is using PCNFS as the authentication mechanism, the local passwd and group files on the User Name Mapping Server are used to obtain the encrypted password and UID/GID pair of the UNIX user.

One other important authentication occurs when a request comes to the User Name Mapping Service. The .maphosts file that resides in the Mapper subdirectory of the SFUv3 installation directory is checked to see if the computer requesting the user mapping is permitted to access the User Name Mapping Service. If it is not, the request for a user map is denied.

As you can see, there are several steps involved in any authentication. Any of the steps could cause an authentication failure; so its important to understand the process in order to effectively troubleshoot it.

Services for NFS Step-by-Step Guide for Windows Server 2008

Services for NFS command-line tools

Services for NFS provides the following Windows command-line administration tools. To run a tool, type its name at the command prompt. For information about the available parameters, at the command prompt, type toolname /?.

Test scenario

This test scenario requires you to deploy Services for NFS in a lab environment to assess how this technology would function if deployed in your production environment. The instructions provided in this document will help you:

Prerequisites and assumptions

This guide assumes that you:



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Last modified: March 12, 2019