NFS Manager is an application to control the NFS features built into OS X or into OS X Server by a comfortable graphical user interface. The application uses Apple's technologies like Bonjour or Open Directory to make management as easy as possible. When using directory services, NFS Manager can configure NFS features not only for a single computer but for a whole network of thousands of Macintosh systems, needing a few mouse clicks only.
NFS is an industry standard typically used on UNIX systems designed to share files in a network for common usage. NFS means Network File System and was developed by SUN Microsystems (today: ORACLE). Every OS X system can either be configured as an
Of course you can use both functions simultaneously on a single Mac.
NFS is designed to establish a hierarchical file system distributed among multiple computers (Distributed File System). A folder shared via NFS acts in a way similar to that of an external hard drive. Computers that have been setup to use such a share connect automatically to the correct server on the network, as soon as the server has been switched on and is sharing data. No password entry is needed to establish the connection. Access privileges are controlled by file and folder permissions, like on external hard drives. Disconnecting from a server is also handled automatically when no files from that share have been used for a certain amount of time, like a hard drive which enters sleep mode. When reusing the files, a reconnect operation (“wake-up”) will also be performed in an equally fast way.
Automatically connecting and disconnecting NFS servers is called Automatic Mounting, or, in short, Automounting.
NFS was originally designed to be used in very large professional networks, as they can be found in corporations, schools, or universities. NFS is scaling very well, which means several thousand automounts can be setup on each computer, without any bottlenecks or other problems.
Because NFS is an industry standard, it is no problem to connect computers and Unix-like operating systems of different vendors for sharing, e.g. Linux®, SUN® Solaris®, HP-UX®, AIX®, etc. In particular cases however, it can be necessary that you have to know specific operational settings to establish a concrete NFS connection to an operating system of a third-party vendor, for example which NFS version and which type of data transport must be used, and which NFS features are available. Every OS X system is supporting
In addition, OS X 10.7 Lion (or later) is also capable of using NFS version 4 (NFSv4) as a client.
To use NFS Manager version 3, you need an Apple computer which has one of the following operating systems installed:
You can use NFS Manager with the server version of Mac OS X to setup NFS features in parallel to Apple's Server Admin application. However, you should avoid to access the NFS configuration with both applications simultaneously because in this case conflicts are possible and the configuration could be mutually overwritten. Please note that Server Admin contains less configuration features than NFS Manager, so you cannot see or modify all NFS settings using Server Admin. With the Lion version of Server Admin, the features to control the NFS server are missing entirely. OS X Server 2 or later also doesn't offer a user interface for the NFS server.
Of course NFS sharing can be used to share data with older versions of Mac OS X as well. Such systems can be setup with NFS Manager 2. It is also possible to import NFS configurations which have been stored by NFS Manager 2.94 into NFS Manager 3, for example when you are migrating the operating system from Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger to Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard.