[OpenAFS] Request for Assistance with OpenAFS

Benjamin Kaduk kaduk@MIT.EDU
Wed, 4 May 2016 22:29:25 -0400 (EDT)

On Wed, 16 Mar 2016, Nicolas Melot wrote:

> Hi,
> I'm trying to setup and use openafs for mobile nodes, not always having a
> connection to the openAFS server. I would like to use the openAFS caching
> mechanism as an offline disk that synchronizes everything once online again.
> I installed an openAFS 1.6.9 server and client, together with a kerberos
> server on debian jessie. Everything works great, including offline operations
> and synch after the client is back online. However, I fail of open a afs
> session on the client machine while it is offline. To rule out a lack of
> kerberos ticket, I installed a kerberos replica on the client machine and I
> can get a ticket offline. However, even with a valid ticket, AFS's cache
> manager doesn't give access to the files.
> Investigating more and reading the doc, my understanding is that the cache
> manager doesn't look for anything to confirm the authorization granted by the
> kerberos ticket presented. However, I still fail to open an AFS session with
> an offline machine. I think this is because the cache manager requests
> information from the protection database (I guess some kind of ACLs) and since
> it can't contact it, then it doesn't give access to files at all.

This is not exactly true; in normal operation, it is the fileserver that
consults the protection database and determines whether a user is
authorized to access a given resource.

> In a desperate attempt to reach my goal, I started to set up at protection
> database replication into the client and see what happens.. well, it looks
> like I need to identify protection database server (including the replication
> installed in my client machine) with ip addresses. The problem is that both
> databases (the original and replica) check if the ip address  of machines are
> the same in both ends before allowing a replication to happen. That means I
> can't configure the client so it connects to, which would be the
> only way t contact the local protection database when offline, so this
> solution doesn't seem to work either.

I don't think that having a local protection database is a fruitful area
of research; the ubik database synchronization protocol is not really
scalable, and is generally used with only 3 or 5 peers.  (There is also a
hard cap in the current implementation, which might be 16; I forget the
exact number.)

> Then, finally my question (s): is it possible at all to have openafs working
> in offline mode, including opening a session, even if I need to run a Kerberos
> and a protection database replica on the client for it (even if that sounds
> like a bad idea). Is it possible to prevent the original and the replica
> protection databases from checking if the ip addresses are the same, so that I
> can have the client machine to contact its local replica of the protection
> database on and the original protection database server to contact
> the replica through its ip address on the network; better: through its dns
> name only.

I think what you want would require further development on the offline
mode, which in its current state remains an experimental feature but has
not seen any significant resources invested in it for several years.

I do not have an estimate for the amount of work that would be necessary,
but will say that I expect it to be measured in man-years.