This guide will explain how to install NFS server on RHEL 8 / CentOS 8 Linux server. NFS stands for Network File System. It enables client systems to access files that are stored on a remote shared server over a network and make use of those file systems as if they are locally mounted. NFS is a client-and-server file system(FS).
By using NFS shared storage, system administrators can consolidate resources onto centralized servers on the network. Files are easily shared between multiple systems on the same network. A client system can access the remote share with (read, write) privileges and do not have access to the underlying block storage.
For Ubuntu / Debian, check: Install and Configure NFS Server on Ubuntu & Debian Linux
Supported NFS versions
Below are the versions of NFS supported by RHEL 8.
NFS version 3 (NFSv3)
- Has support for safe asynchronous writes and is more robust at error handling than the previous NFSv2
- Supports 64-bit file sizes and offsets, allowing clients to access more than 2 GB of file data.
NFS version 4 (NFSv4)
- Works through firewalls and on the Internet
- No longer requires rpcbind service
- Supports Access Control Lists (ACLs)
- Utilizes stateful operations.
In this guide, we will setup NFSv4.2 on our RHEL/CentOS system. Here is my setup design.
|NFS Server||RHEL/CentOS 8||172.16.54.136||server.example.com|
|NFS Client 1||RHEL/CentOS 8||172.16.54.136||client1.example.com|
|NFS Client 2||RHEL/CentOS 8||172.16.54.131||client2.example.com|
But note that the configuration of NFS client will be covered in a separate guide. Follow the steps below to install NFS Server on CentOS 8 / RHEL 8 Linux system.
Step 1: Update server and set hostname
Your server should have a static IP address and static hostname that persists reboots. Check our guides on how to set static IP on RHEL/CentOS 8.
sudo yum -y update sudo hostnamectl set-hostname server.example.com --static
Step 2: Install NFS Server on CentOS 8 / RHEL 8
Next is the installation of the NFS server packages on RHEL / CentOS 8 system.
sudo yum -y install nfs-utils
After the installation, start and enable nfs-server service.
sudo systemctl enable --now nfs-server rpcbind
Status should show “running“.
Step 3: Exporting NFS Shares on RHEL 8 / CentOS 8
There are two ways to configure exports on an NFS server.
- Manually editing the
- Using the
exportfsutility on the command line
/etc/exports file controls which file systems are exported to remote hosts and specifies options. It follows the following syntax rules:
- Blank lines are ignored.
- To add a comment, start a line with the hash mark (#).
- You can wrap long lines with a backslash (\).
- Each exported file system should be on its own individual line.
- Any lists of authorized hosts placed after an exported file system must be separated by space characters.
- Options for each of the hosts must be placed in parentheses directly after the host identifier, without any spaces separating the host and the first parenthesis.
For this setup, I added a secondary disk to my server with a capacity of 20 GB. We will partition this disk and create file system on it for use as NFS share.
$ lsblk | grep sdb sdb 8:16 0 20G 0 disk # Create partition and file system sudo parted -s -a optimal -- /dev/sdb mklabel gpt sudo parted -s -a optimal -- /dev/sdb mkpart primary 0% 100% sudo parted -s -- /dev/sdb align-check optimal 1 sudo mkfs.xfs /dev/sdb1
We’re going to mount it to /data directory.
sudo mkdir /data echo "/dev/sdb1 /data xfs defaults 0 0" | sudo tee -a /etc/fstab sudo mount -a
Let’s check the settings to confirm.
$ df -hT | grep /data /dev/sdb1 xfs 20G 176M 20G 1% /data
I’ll create directory on /data/nfshare that will be exported to NFS clients.
sudo mkdir /data/nfshare
Now we need to modify /etc/exports to configure NFS share. The structure is:
It is also possible to specify multiple hosts, along with specific options for each host, like below.
export host1(options1) host2(options2) host3(options3)
- export is the directory being exported
- host is the host or network to which the export is being shared
- options List of options to be used for the host
In my setup, I’ll give the exported file system is read & write permissions to allow remote hosts to make changes to the data shared on the file system. My host will be a network 172.16.54.0/24.
So my line on /etc/exports file will be.
The no_root_squash option disables root squashing – enables remote root user to have root privileges. This is usually required for VM installations on NFS share.
To learn more about available options, use:
$ man exports
Once you’re done with the settings, use the exportfs utility to selectively export directories without restarting the NFS service.
$ sudo exportfs -rav exporting 172.16.54.0/24:/data/nfshare
- r – Causes all directories listed in /etc/exports to be exported by constructing a new export list in /etc/lib/nfs/xtab
- a – All directories are exported or unexported, depending on what other options are passed to exportfs
- v – Verbose operation – Show what’s going on
If Firewalld is running, allow NFS service.
sudo firewall-cmd --add-service=nfs --permanent sudo firewall-cmd --add-service=nfs3,mountd,rpc-bind --permanent sudo firewall-cmd --reload
SELinux boolean may need to be enabled.
sudo setsebool -P nfs_export_all_rw 1
Step 4: Mounting NFS Shares on Client Machines
Now that we’re done with NFS server configurations, the remaining part is mounting NFS shares on a client system. A client can be a remote system, a Virtual Machine on the same server or the server itself.