Why NFS Sucks

NFS is really the distributed file system in the Unix world - and at the same time it is probably also one of its most reviled components. For just about every Suse release, there's a bug in our bugzilla with a summary line of "NFS sucks." NFS even has a whole chapter of its own in the Unix Haters' Handbook. And having hacked quite a bit of NFS code over the course of 8 years, the author cannot help agreeing that NFS as a whole does have a number of warts.

This presentation is an attempt at answering why this is so. It will take a long look at some of the stranger features of NFS, why they came into existence, and how they affect stability, performance and POSIX conformance of the file system. The talk will also present some historical background, and compare NFS to other distributed file systems.

The author feels compelled to mention that this is not a complaint about the quality of the Linux NFS implementation, which is in fact pretty good.


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