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I read that in Linux it is possible to configure a server (using a fileshare tool like NFS) to mount user home directories whenever they log in. I assume (please correct me if I'm wrong!) this means that the actual directory is located on some server (S1), but when the user logs in to another server (S2), it mounts the user's home directory (stored on S1) in lieu of the local homedir.

  • Have I misunderstood the concept of these so-called "distributed" home directories? If so, how does it actually work?
  • What are the benefits of such a setup? The user needs access to a home directory regardless, why not just let them log in to their home directory on S2? It seems like unnecessary overhead, but then again, I'm sure I'm missing something.

Thanks in advance!

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up vote 0 down vote accepted

Consider an organization using server farm, and assigned a hostname that when DNS resolved gives ip address of a single server in the farm.

In such a case, instead of mirroring the users' home directories across the servers, the admin will create home directories on filers that are nfs mounted when logged in to the machine.

advantages: If we mirror the home directories of n users on m server instances, we will need n*m times the size of the avg user's home directory. In this approach, we will end created just n home directories corresponding to n users and hence reducing a lot of disk space. Also, in this approach, we need to rsync or mirror the data created/modified/deleted on one server on to all others...because we are just accessing one copy of the data.

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