Isilon Quick Tips: Setting Up NFS Export in OneFS

Another Isilon Quick Tip, where I walk through setting up NFS export in OneFS. Setting up NFS exports is one of the baseline skills needed when working with OneFS.


NFS or Network File System is a protocol that allows file based access in a distributed environments. If you are familiar with Windows based systems it’s similar to the SMB protocol but mostly used in Linux/Unix environments. Chances are if you have any Linux/UNIX machines in your environment, you will have a need for using NFS exports.

When Do I Need an NFS Export?

Let’s jump into a couple use cases when you would want to mount an NFS export.

  • Suppose you need extra capacity on your local machine
  • Offload archive data to a network based file system
  • Allow for file sharing abilities for a group of users
  • Manage file access across a in a distributed environment
  • Large data transfers or access to large files across network

Setting Up NFS Export in OneFS

  1. Open OneFS WebGUI
  2. Navigate to Protocols –> UNIX Sharing (NFS)
  3. Click Create Export
  4. Select directory to be shared
  5. Click Create Export
  6. Mount NFS export on Linux/UNIX machine (see commands below)


In this episode of Isilon Quick Tips, we’re going to focus on accessing NFS Exports from Isilon’s OneFS.

If you’re accessing Isilon from a Linux machine, you’ll want to make use of the network file system—or NFS—protocol. To do this, we’ll be using mount commands. But first, let’s set up a directory that we want to share out through an NFS export. All this will be done from OneFS web interface and a Linux command line. So, follow along.

From our Protocol tab, we’ll go to the UNIX Sharing or NFS. Within our NFS Exports, we’ll have one defaulted, and that default will be for our IFS directory. Remember, anything in that IFS directory is everything that’s in Isilon. So, that’s one that’s set up by default, but let’s set up one that is specific just to maybe our data. So, I’m going to create an export. We can select our path and we can go down as deep as we want. So, I could go into our data and do something off the home shares or some of the archive data. But I just want to set a top-level directory for just our data path and share this one out. So, I’m going to select ifs/data, and then this is all of our data in Isilon. You don’t have to set a description. It’s just good once you start managing quite a few of these. You want to be like, okay, you can look at it and say, “Hey, okay, that’s actually what this export supports.” With our permissions, we can restrict it to read-only, but we don’t want to do that because we want to be able to make this a working directory. But I will click the “Enable mount access to subdirectories.” So, we’re not only accessing that data – we’re actually accessing everything inside of data and all the subdirectories involved as well. From here, I’ll just create my export, and we get a green check, which means we’re good to go. We now have two exports available. We have one from our IFS and one from our data. So, now we’ll need to jump back into a Linux box and access this from the command line.

So, from our Linux machine, I’m just going to show my directory path. So, I’m here in the root directory and I’ve got some files here. The first thing I want to do—and one of the ways that I always troubleshoot setting up the NFS mounts—is let’s see what mounts are available. So, we’re going to run a showmount command, and what we’re expecting to see is that IFS export, and also the IFS data that we just set up. So, the syntax is just showmount -e, and it’s going to be our Isilon cluster name. So, I’ve just got an IP address for mine. All right, and just like we expected, we see our IFS data, and then our IFS, and those are both accessible to us. Now all we have to do is create a directory to put this in. So, from our root directory, I’m just going to use an mkdir, and let’s set up a directory called our data-share. Just confirm that it’s there. And now we’ll just that mount command. So, mount [Isilon cluster name]:, which export we’re going to use. Remember, we’re going to use the IFS data, but you could use the IFS and mount to all the data that’s in Isilon. Now we need to put the full path of the directory that we want to put it in. So, we just created the data-share, and then now we should be able to run LS on our data-share. And now we see that we have our data in here. So, we have our Isilon support, we have project data, we have that home share data and that archive data – all mounted here.

So, this is a quick way just to set up an NFS export from a Linux machine to your Isilon cluster. Thanks for joining me for another Isilon Quick Tip.