System Administration Guide: Network Services
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Strategies for NFS Troubleshooting

When tracking an NFS problem, remember the main points of possible failure: the server, the client, and the network. The strategy that is outlined in this section tries to isolate each individual component to find the one that is not working. In all situations, the mountd and nfsd daemons must be running on the server for remote mounts to succeed.

The -intr option is set by default for all mounts. If a program hangs with a server not responding message, you can kill the program with the keyboard interrupt Control-c.

When the network or server has problems, programs that access hard-mounted remote files fail differently than those programs that access soft-mounted remote files. Hard-mounted remote file systems cause the client's kernel to retry the requests until the server responds again. Soft-mounted remote file systems cause the client's system calls to return an error after trying for awhile. Because these errors can result in unexpected application errors and data corruption, avoid soft mounting.

When a file system is hard mounted, a program that tries to access the file system hangs if the server fails to respond. In this situation, the NFS system displays the following message on the console:

NFS server hostname not responding still trying

When the server finally responds, the following message appears on the console:

NFS server hostname ok

A program that accesses a soft-mounted file system whose server is not responding generates the following message:

NFS operation failed for server hostname: error # (error-message)

Note - Because of possible errors, do not soft-mount file systems with read-write data or file systems from which executables are run. Writable data could be corrupted if the application ignores the errors. Mounted executables might not load properly and can fail.

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