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In pure Linux networks, I've read that NFS is good if the network is small. Are there performance issues that one runs into when using NFS for large networks? Security issues? Is there a competitor to NFS that squanders these issues?

I've also read that NFS grants access based on IP address. Doesn't that mean every client would need a deciated IP? Or is it possible to pool clients into a a range of IP addresses, and to configure NFS to grant (or restrict) access to that pool? Otherwise you would have quite a bit of overhead keeping all the IP address entries up to date in your NFS configuration! Or am I completely misunderstanding this "IP-based" authentication here?

Thanks in advance!

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If by "pool" you mean a CIDR mask, then sure, you can use that. Also, NFS on Linux supports Kerberos for authenticating both machines and services, as well as encrypting the transferred data. –  grawity Feb 20 '12 at 23:07
    
Your question is too broad. You should ask about a specific use, such as distributed home directories, and then someone can answer. –  Kyle Jones Feb 21 '12 at 5:47
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up vote 1 down vote accepted

NFS is a standard fileshare tool. It performs well only if it is ran with optimizing mount options (which requires understanding the tool itself, the network its being executed on, and the functions it will serve on those networks).

Yes it does support IP-based authentication, which (like @grawity explained) is handled through the use of subnet masks which do not (necessarily - again depends on how your network as a whole is configured) require dedicated IPs. Is that method secure? Not as secure as using a kb5 server (again, like @grawity pointed out). HTH.

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