About This Guide

The ONC3/NFS Administrator's Guide documents the Silicon Graphics® Open Network Computing/Network File System (ONC3/NFS). ONC3/NFS is adapted from Sun Microsystems, Inc.'s ONC+ version 1.2, and was previously referred to as the Network File System (NFS). The purpose of this guide is to provide the information needed to set up and maintain the ONC3/NFS services. It explains ONC3/NFS software fundamentals and provides procedures to help you install, test, and troubleshoot ONC3/NFS on your network. It also contains planning information and recommendations for administering the service.

ONC+ has been optimized for use on Silicon Graphics systems, and has been integrated with the IRIS Indigo Magicenvironment and system toolchest. The Silicon Graphics implementation of ONC+ can run only on a Silicon Graphics system.

ONC3/NFS is made up of distributed services that allow users to access file systems and directories on remote systems and treat them as if they were local. Networks with heterogeneous architectures and operating systems can participate in the same ONC3/NFS service. The service can also include systems connected to different types of networks.

The components of ONC3/NFS are described below. Further information is provided in the following chapters.


The Network File System (NFS) is the distributed file system in ONC3/NFS. Silicon Graphics supports the NFS version 2 (NFS2) and NFS version 3 (NFS3).


The Network Information Service (NIS) is a collection of databases of network entity location information that can be used by applications, including NFS.


The Cache File System (CacheFS), introduced in IRIX 5.3, provides client-side caching for NFS and other file system types.


The AutoFS file system, introduced in IRIX 6.2, provides automatic, in-place mounting of specified file systems when they are accessed.

Summary of Contents

Table 1 contains a summary of each chapter in this guide and suggests how to use the chapter.

Table 1. ONC3/NFS Administrator's Guide Chapter Summaries



When to Read

Chapter 1, “Understanding ONC3/NFS”

Introduces the vocabulary of ONC3/NFS, and the fundamentals of ONC3/NFS operation.

Read this chapter if you are new to ONC3/NFS. If you already have ONC3/NFS experience, you can skip Chapter 1.

Chapter 2, “Planning ONC3/NFS Service”

Explains ONC3/NFS processes and their options in detail.

You should be thoroughly familiar with the information in this chapter before continuing with Chapter 4, “Setting Up and Testing ONC3/NFS.”

Chapter 3, “Using Automatic Mounter Map Options”

Describes special features of the automatic mounters.

Read this chapter if you plan to customize your automatic mounter environment.

Chapter 4, “Setting Up and Testing ONC3/NFS”

Contains procedures for implementing ONC3/NFS on server and client systems and verifying their operation.

Use this chapter as a guide to implementing the ONC3/NFS service on your network.

Chapter 5, “Maintaining ONC3/NFS”

Contains procedures for changing the parameters in ONC3/NFS after it is in service.

Use these procedures for routine upkeep of ONC3/NFS.

Chapter 6, “Troubleshooting  ONC3/NFS”

Provides general problem-solving information and check-out procedures. Also describes specific problems that can occur with ONC3/NFS and suggests what you can do to correct them.

Use this chapter to diagnose and correct ONC3/NFS problems. Some of the suggestions in this chapter require an understanding of other network software, such as NIS.

Appendix A, “ONC3/NFS Error Messages”

Explains error messages that may result from incorrect use of ONC3/NFS.

Read this appendix if you need help resolving an error message that displays.

What You Should Know

To use the setup and maintenance information in this guide, you should have experience in the following areas:

  • Setting up network services

  • Assessing the needs of network users

  • Maintaining hosts databases

  • Understanding the UNIX® file system structure

  • Using UNIX editors

To troubleshoot ONC3/NFS, you should be familiar with these concepts:

  • Theory of network services

  • Silicon Graphic's network implementation

Supplementary Documentation

You can find supplementary information in these documents:

  • IRIX Admin: Networking and Mail (Silicon Graphics publication) explains the fundamentals of system and network administration for Silicon Graphics systems on a local area network.

  • NIS Administration Guide (Silicon Graphics publication) explains how to set up and maintain Silicon Graphic's implementation of the network information service.

  • IRIX Network Programming Guide (Silicon Graphics publication) explains the programmatic interfaces to ONC3/NFS.

  • Diskless Workstation Administration Guide (Silicon Graphics publication) describes the setup and maintenance of diskless workstations.

  • Defense Data Network Protocol Handbook, available from the Network Information Center, 14200 Park Meadow Dr., Suite 200, Chantilly, VA 22021. This three-volume set contains information on TCP/IP and UDP/IP.

  • Stern, Hal Managing NFS and NIS O'Reilly & Associates, Inc. 1991. This book contains detailed, but not Silicon Graphics-specific, information about NFS and how to administer and use it.

Typographical Conventions

These type conventions and symbols are used in this guide:


Filenames, variables, IRIX command arguments, map names, the first use of new terms, titles of publications


Command line options

Screen type 

Code examples, file excerpts, and screen displays (including error messages)

Bold Screen type 

User input


(Parentheses) Following IRIX commands, they surround the reference page (man page) section where the command is described


(Brackets) Surround optional syntax statement arguments

Product Support

Silicon Graphics offers a comprehensive product support and maintenance program for its products. For information about using support services for this product, refer to the Release Notes that accompany it.