Sunnyvale, CA — Network Appliance Inc., a leading provider of network-attached data access and content management solutions, announced a corporate donation to the University of Michigan, supporting a multivendor effort to develop Network File System version 4 (NFS v4) interoperability for the Linux operating system.
“Network Appliance believes in open industry protocols and has been involved with standards efforts for protocols like NFS, NDMP, and ICAP for many years,” said Brian Pawlowski, chief technical officer, international, for Network Appliance, Inc. “Part of making an open protocol successful is making open source implementations available to third parties and industry associations for development and testing. Network Appliance is committed to, and supports, this multivendor effort to increase Linux and NFS interoperability.”
Bev Crair, software engineering manager, Sun Microsystems, said, “The strategy behind codeveloping the standard with other vendors is to achieve seamless interoperability. We want to provide customers the best possible solution set. Developing and supporting effective standards is one great way to do this. With both Network Appliance and Sun involved in the University’s effort, customers end up with better, more innovative solutions.”
Originally developed by Sun Microsystems in 1985, NFS was subsequently turned over to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) for standardization and improvement. Over 300 organizations have licensed NFS technology, and products exist today on leading major computer and operating system platforms. NFS v2 and v3 provide a leading method of sharing data between a number of platforms and operating systems including Linux, Solaris, AIX, OS/400, HP-UX, IRIX, FreeBSD, Network Appliance Data ONTAP, Microsoft Windows, Macintosh, and Novell.
Major changes slated for NFS include:
— Mandatory availability of client and server system security mechanisms. NFS v4 will provide encrypted Kerberos version 5 authentication, making it virtually impossible to gain unauthorized access to data. File and directory access will support a rich set of controls via the use of Access Control Lists (ACLs).
— Improved session recoverability. NFS v4 will incorporate improved reliability and recoverability by providing unique built-in server failover capabilities at the protocol level. If one server stops responding for any reason, such as server failure or network problems, the client can automatically read and write data to an alternate server.
— Improved file locking. NFS v4 greatly improves data integrity by incorporating an NFS locking mechanism into the core protocol. This locking mechanism also improves multiprotocol file locking for sharing data with other file sharing protocols such as CIFS for Microsoft Windows environments.
— Enhanced wide-area networking (WAN) features. While versions NFS v2 and NFS v3 perform well in a LAN environment, NFS v4 extends performance to the WAN environment by implementing client-side file caching and compound file I/O operations and easing WAN implementations with firewall schemes.
“Existing versions of NFS (v2 and v3) provide excellent data sharing and centralized data management capabilities, but today’s IS managers require more functionality,” said Pawlowski. “These improvements to NFS will strengthen the protocol’s functionality and interoperability by implementing new security, reliability, and recoverability features.”
Network Appliance, Inc., a veteran in network file serving and caching, has been providing data access solutions since 1992, and is a member of both the S+P 500 and NASDAQ 100 index. Major corporations and ISPs, including Lycos, Yahoo!, Citicorp Securities, Siemens, Lockheed, Cisco, Motorola, and Texas Instruments have deployed NetApp solutions.