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File server works without administration Disclosure Number: IPCOM000013750D
Original Publication Date: 2001-Dec-05
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-18

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Reducing administration work effort of servers is major interest of IT managers. An idea described here makes it possible to maintain a file server without any administration work by automating creation/deletion of shared directories. A minimum set of administration required for a file server consists of two configuration setting for network and for shared directories. First one can be automated by using DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol RFC2131). For second one, an administrator should create a directory and set it to be shared by network file sharing protocol e.g. NFS (Network File System) and CIFS (Common Internet File System). This setting can be automated by creating a directory and set it shared on demand from clients. This works in a manner described below. When a NFS or CIFS client mounts a file system or a directory of a remote file server, it sends a share name of a file system or a directory over a network. In an usual case, this name should be assigned by an administrator of the file server otherwise the mount request will be rejected. But this can be changed as the following. When a mount request comes with an unknown share name, a file server creates a new file system or directory and assign the name, then sends a reply with a handle to the new shared directory. If a plain text password is included in the request, it is also applied as a password for the shared directory. Deletion of an unnecessary shared directory will be done by checking two conditions. 1) Is there any file in the directory? 2) Is there any client who mounts the directory? If answers for both of the questions are no, a file server can delete the shared directory. 1