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    SubjectLinux & NFS caching: reducing TCO
    Date
    Hi There,

    in order to minimize the amount of time used for system maintenance, upgrading
    etc. for our institute network (one main "file server" for /home, rest
    "clients", near-complete 100 mbit installation) we thought about letting the
    clients run diskless. A first test showed that this is quite easy to do and
    really gives the benefit of one central installation for all clients.

    However the performance, e.g. when using LaTeX, is quite awful. The next
    thing we will try is upgrading the server from 2.0.x to 2.2.x in order to use
    knfsd -- which should be somewhat faster. However the main issue seems to be
    client-side caching. The normal mount parameters for nfs only seem to include
    a timeout for attribute caching; using tcpdump to check how long a client
    chaches file contents it seemed that that time never exceeds a couple of
    seconds.

    Is there any way to let the clients use a "proper" caching (even if just
    for ro mounted /usr or so)? This could just make all the difference...

    In such a case it might be necessary to let the server be able to send a kind
    of invalidate message to the clients if something changes (I thought of keeping
    data in cache for tens of minutes). This whole setup obviously relies on only
    few changes and only makes sense for e.g. /usr but _not_ /home.

    Regards, Colin Hirsch

    --
    Dipl.-Inform. Colin Hirsch hirsch@informatik.rwth-aachen.de
    Research Group on Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science
    University of Technology Aachen Germany
    --

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