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Reviewed by: Jerry Jelinek <>

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sdc-nfs implements a user-level NFS v3 server in node.js.


The server is a user-level process that runs locally and services NFS requests. Its primary purpose is to enable NFS service from within a SmartOS zone, which is otherwise unable to act as an NFS server.

The server includes a built-in portmapper, but it will also interoperate transparently with the zone's portmapper (usually rpcbind) if one is running. The server also includes a built-in mountd and nfsd. There is no lockd provided by the server.

By default, the server only listens on the localhost address and only serves files locally. However, for production use it should be configured to serve files to external hosts.

The server requires at least v0.10.x of node.js.

Getting Started

Clone the repo then run npm install within the clone to build all of the dependencies. The 'Configuration' section of this readme describes how to configure the server before you run it. The 'Usage' section of this readme describes how to start the server and how to perform an NFS mount.


There are a variety of configuration options. An example configuration file, showing all possible configuration options, is provided in etc/example.json. Each section of the configuration file is optional. The configuration file is specified to the server via the -f option:

node server.js -f etc/myconfig.json

Although most of the sections in etc/example.json should be self-explanatory, here is some additional information.

  • The mount section's address field can be used to specify an address other than localhost for the server to listen on. Using '' tells the server to listen on all addresses. Both the mountd and nfsd within the server will listen on the given address. It is a good idea to limit foreign host access if listening on the external network. The hosts_allow or hosts_deny sections can be used to restrict access to the given IP addresses. The exports section can be used to restrict access to the specified portions of the local filesystem.

  • The nfs section is normally not needed, but it can be used to set the uid and gid values for 'nobody'. This is useful if NFS clients are running a different OS, which uses different values for 'nobody', as compared to the server. The fd-cache section can be used to configure the server's file descriptor cache.


When running the server for the first time, you probably want to run it by hand to confirm that the configuration is correct and things are working as expected. Once you know things are working correctly, you may want to set up a service so that the server runs automatically.

The server must be started as root since it needs access to the portmapper's privileged port. The sudo or pfexec commands are typically used to run a command as root, depending on which OS you're using.

In an lx zone the server can be run with no config file like:

sudo node server.js

In a native zone the server can be run like:

pfexec node server.js

To pass in a config file, use the -f option:

pfexec node server.js -f etc/myconfig.json

All output logging is done via bunyan. Once started, the server will output an occasional log message, but the -d or -v options can be used to change the bunyan logging level to either 'debug' or 'trace'. Logging at either of these levels is not recommended, except during debugging, since there will be many log entries for each NFS operation. You may want to redirect the output from the server into a file:

pfexec node server.js -d -f etc/myconfig.json >log 2>&1

To mount a directory, use the standard NFS client mount command with a path on the server. For example:

pfexec mount /mnt

Once you have confirmed that the server works as expected, you can set up a service in your zone so that the server runs automatically when the zone boots. This is discussed in the SmartOS section below.


The NFS mknod(2) operation is not supported.

AUTH_SYS is the only style of authorization supported.

UID/GID mapping between the server and clients is outside the scope of this implementation.

OS Specific Considerations

This section discusses any issues that are specific to using or running the server in a specific type of zone.

lx-branded zones

Some distributions (e.g. Ubuntu or Centos) may not come pre-installed with the /sbin/mount.nfs command which is needed to perform a mount, while others (e.g. Fedora) may be ready to go. On Ubuntu, install the nfs-common package.

apt-get install nfs-common

On Centos, install the nfs-utils package.

There is no lock manager included in the server, so you must disable locking when you mount. e.g.

mount -o nolock /home/foo/mnt

When mounting from inside an lx-branded zone you may need to explicitly specify that you want to use the NFSv3 protocol. e.g.

mount -o nolock,vers=3 /home/foo/mnt


In order to mount from the host, the zone's 'rpcbind' must be running. The server's built-in portmapper cannot be used. If the svc is not already enabled, enable it.

svcadm enable network/rpc/bind

If you intend to serve external hosts, you must also ensure that the bind service is configured to allow access. To check this:

svccfg -s bind listprop config/local_only

If this is set to true, you need to change it to false.

svccfg -s bind setprop config/local_only=false
svcadm refresh bind

The svc/smf/sdc-nfs.xml file provides an example configuration for smf(5). If necessary, edit the file and provide the correct paths to 'node', 'server.js' and your configuration file.

Run the following to load and start the service:

svccfg -v import svc/smf/sdc-nfs.xml


user-level NFS server written in node.js




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