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What is NFS and how to restore data from NFS storage

What is NFS data storage?

NFS data storage

Network File System (NFS) is an Internet standard protocol for facilitating remote file exchange between servers, developed in 1984 by Sun Microsystems. This file system is a kind of storage and is intended for general access to (file) data to a network attached storage connected to a local network.

Thus, the network file system enables the client to view, store, and update files on a remote computer as if they were stored locally. Currently, the major deployment versions are NFSv3, NFSv4, and NFSv4.1, with NFS v3 being the most common.

How does it work?

NFS data storage - how does it work

Network File System (NFS) is based on the principle of interaction between a server and a client using the appropriate protocols between them. The NFS client-server protocol begins with the "mount" command, which specifies the parameters for the client and server software. The most common and useful NFS protocol options are: shared file locking characteristics, caching, and security support.

Thus, a computer provides simultaneous access to its data to any other computers on the same network, for example, one network of computers in an office has access to this storage.

In this case, read and write operations are actually performed not by the client, but by the server, which executes requests, retrieves and stores data, and also changes the file metadata (for example, access rights or file modification time).

Benefits

NFS data storage

Since the introduction of NFS, it has evolved enough to provide superior security, better sharing of your files (locking), and better performance. In addition, using the file system to exchange files on the network is relatively simple and convenient.

The Benefits of the NFS service:

  • All clients on the network can use the same data, accessing it on remote hosts as if they were accessing local files.
  • There is no need for local disk space, which significantly reduces storage costs.
  • All users can mount changes to the file system.
  • There is support for heterogeneous environments. This allows you to run mixed technologies from multiple vendors and use many more components.
  • Centralization of data minimizes the costs of the system administrator.
  • Excellent safety due to the minimum number of removable disks.

Disadvantages 

The NFS Internet standard is not without flaws that may or may not be addressed in the future.

The main negative qualities of NFS are: 

  • NFSv4 and NFSv4.1 have limited bandwidth and scalability. This is quite noticeable during heavy network traffic.
  • The NFS client-server protocol requires a large number of requests to be configured to transfer data.
  • Sophisticated file sharing setup (using file locking and caching).
  • Limited concurrent file access. Although it was added in NFSv4, only a few clients support it so far.
  • The block size limit is a maximum of 1 MB of data per read or write request.

However, NFS has proven itself well for many decades.

How to repair NFS data with VMFS Recovery 

If NFS or VMFS does not work as expected, and you need to recover data from storage, use DiskInternals VMFS Recovery. The application can be installed and used on the following OS: Windows Vista, 7, 8 and 10 or Windows Server 2006-2019. An automatic recovery is available here, which includes a step-by-step recovery wizard, while the recovered files and folders are exported to local or remote locations (including FTP).

Please read these instructions carefully for using DiskInternals DiskInternals VMFS Recovery:

  • Download this app from the DiskInternals website.
  • After launching the application on your computer, if necessary, connect via SSH, and then open the disk and start scanning.
  • After that VMFS Recovery will find all the VMDK files, you need to mount them.
  • Then check the recovered files for their integrity and correctness of recovery.

If everything suits you, it's time to buy a license for DiskInternals VMFS Recovery and export all found or individual files at your discretion.

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