[OpenAFS] Questions about OpenAFS "reality"

Jan Johansson janj+openafs@wenf.org
Fri, 20 Jan 2006 22:42:25 +0100

You received many good answers and I would just like to add some
small details.

Leroy Tennison <leroy_tennison@prodigy.net> wrote:
> How does AFS compare in administrative burden compared to the
> common PC NOSes (NetWare and AD)?

It has been quite long since I saw NetWare but keeping file
history so users could restore there own files helped the tape
monkey. AFS has .backup volumes that solves a part of this.

SMB, CIFS in NT4 was/is a pain. When you ran out of disk you hade
to forcibly move users to another server with a new name. If the
users learned the name of the server you lost. There was once a
great phone company that had a branch office i Kista. They had a
server which they named server.kista... a number of years later
it lives in =C4lvsj=F6 some 40km away because the users was used to
it and the scripts where written, horribly I think.

DFS (Microsoft Distributed File System) a good attempt at solving
the above problem. I believe the fell short as there are a number
of limitations.

NFS never runned it in any larger scale but people keep telling
me "Watch out for the symlinks" I wounder what they mean. But I
am sure this will be solved with NFSv4 because that will solve
world hunger. But wait didn't they say that NFSv3 would solve
world hunger?

All of the above have one common problem. When the disk run out
you have big problem. "Ladies and gentlemen can we please have
your attention. Please stop working, close your files and hold
you hands up while we move your data to a new disk. Thank you." I
am sure that this can be solved with NAS, SAN or some other hype
technique of the week. But with AFS this is not a problem, you
move user data under the feet of the user and they will not even
know it. That is pure power.

So planning your disk space is not a problem, but you need to
think a little of how you plan you volumes (and of course how you
organise your tree).

> Is it more intensive, less or about the same for a given type
> of user population?  A related question is how "sensitive" is
> it, do you have to be overly careful in order for things to
> work correctly?

I would say AFS is very forgiving an mostly run by itself "very
low maintenance" or "zero effort" if you wish. But this is unix
so it will sometimes tell you "I do not wish to play today
(-18232323223)" and if you can't find the magic number at you
Internat oracle you come here and people will tell you need to
insert a coin while clapping your hands to get a new token.=20

And if you do it correctly you will teach department heads to
manage ACLs on their part of the tree while you catch some zzz's.

> How stable and trouble free is the Windows client?

I often hear people bitching about how broken it is. They can
never say any specific and it always ends with "Atleast it was
two years ago when I last tried". It has come a long way since
then. Might I add a thank you here.

> Is there a Linux GUI for day-to-day administration?

As your questions evovle around Windows I read this as a GUI to
manage the Linux servers.

There is GUI parts connected to the Windows client. Thease can
change ACLs and do some other stuff. There is no need to be
logged on to a AFS server to administrate it.

> What are people doing for printing, particularly Windows
> printing?

The computers in our Active Directory use LPR to print to our
unix print server getting settings and drivers from the AD.

Loose client use Samba, this is to be user friendly with drivers
and settings (point and print).

> What about workstation customization (consistent look and feel
> from workstation to workstation, workstation restrictions,
> etc.)?  What are the alternatives there?

If you run Windows, you should have an Active Directory. You
might also find use for a Windows file server to put certain
stuff on like roaming profiles. So "Pick your fights" and follow
the stream as it suits you.