You are here

AFS file system

Project ID: 
Current stage: 

Description: This project will manage the implementation and deployment of the OpenAFS distributed file system within the Informatics network.

Deliverables: A new distributed file system based on OpenAFS and managed, at the client end at least, via LCFG Locally produced documentation for end users and support staff to assist with the transition to AFS.


Customer: All users of the Informatics distributed file system.

Case statement: For
the background on the decision to adopt OpenAFS as the new Informatics file system see here and here. The full case for replacing the existing NFSv3 based distributed file system with one based on AFS is detailed in the above links but in essence adopting AFS gives us a more secure file system with authentication and authorisation based on kerberos rather than the host based authorisation used by
NFSv3. AFS will supplant many of the locally supported mechanisms such as LDAP based automounter maps, mirroring and quotas, freeing up the effort currently spent in managing and maintaining them. The availability of AFS clients for Linux,
Windows and MacOS will allow us to phase out the current Samba service. Finally
AFS will allow users to access their data from anywhere where they can obtain a
connection to the Internet and will facilitate the exchange of data between the
School and external Collaborators.


Status: Pilot service implemented, proceeding towards full service.


  • End June 06 - User support unit members using AFS home directories
  • End August 06 - All computing staff using AFS home directories
  • Start Academic year 07 - All new home directories AFS based.

Priority: High.




Resources: This project requires a good working
knowledge of distributed file systems in general and OpenAFS in particular. In addition,Informatics specific of areas such as backups and automounter maps would be very useful. It is suggested that the group currently working on the project (the members of the old File Services team plus Simon Wilkinson, Gordon Reid and George Ross) continue to do so



Dependencies: None




Proposed date Achieved date Name Description
2006-08-31 cos using AFS All computing staff using AFS home directories
2006-11-09 2006-11-01 Resolve home di Resolve the local home directory issue (see here)
2006-11-01 2006-11-01 Add existing us We need to add the existing user base to the AFS PTS database (see here)
2007-02-07 2006-11-01 Script creation Script the creation of AFS user space.
2007-02-07 2007-01-08 New AFS account All new non-student users get an AFS home directory by default.
2007-04-01 2007-03-01 Plan for user m We are now at the stage where we can start migrating existing users to AFS home directories. We will produce a proposal for carrying out this work for discussion at the development meeting.
2007-09-03 2007-09-03 New students us We will have a system in place which is capable of coping with the large influx of new student users at the start of the academic year.
2009-08-28 mountpoint DB We need to develope a database of AFS volume to mountpoint mappings. Ideally this would be tied into a high level utility for managing AFS filespace. This might well turn into a project in its own right.
2007-05-01 2007-05-01 Move initial us Move the initial batch of users to AFS home directories
2010-01-11 2009-09-01 All Staff on AF This is the date by which we plan to have all Informatics staff using AFS home directories.
2009-07-01 2009-06-03 New component Rewrite the AFS component to bring more of the administration and monitoring of the AFS filesystem under LCFG control. In particular, support for nagios monitoring should be added.
2009-02-20 2008-12-01 New servers Install new servers in the Forum and at KB
2008-11-22 2008-10-27 servers -> 1.4. Upgrade AFS servers to 1.4.7
2010-03-03 move db servers Move the AFS database servers from the existing desktop hardware to rack mounted servers
2008-11-28 2008-10-27 Optimisation Optimise AFS server settings
2009-07-28 2009-08-05 test server Set up test server for testing component and optimisation settings.