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I've been reading up on fileshare tools like NFS the past few days, and I understand the concept of exporting directories, mount points, shared files/directories, etc.

However, each of the articles/guides I've read have only covered how to set these things up, but have failed to give a handful of real-life (practical) examples of where shared directories are useful.

Can someone give me a few concrete examples so I can see "the forest through the trees"? Thanks in advance!

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A couple of examples where shared disks may be useful;

  • User home directories that you want to show up on all machines.
  • Shared media files, for example to share media from a server to/from a HTPC.
  • Operating system disks for diskless clients.
  • When you need to temporarily "borrow" disk from another machine if you quickly need some extra disk space and your hard disk is getting full.
  • When unreliable clients need to store data on a reliable disk (on a highly available server)

In short, any time you have hard disk space that is best kept on one machine but you want to be able to access from one or many other machines.

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It's useful to have a consistent view of certain areas across multiple machines.

In every place I've worked, you have your home directory shared across machines. This gives you a consistent look (your shell customization scripts are here) and tool set (scripts and such) and scratch area ($HOME/tmp) on every machine. Once you have this, you don't want to do any other way.

In most places you'll have a shared directory of scripts and executables someplace. This way every machine has the same programs, the same version.

In many environments, you have a shared logging area. This way you can see logs from multiple machines in the same log area.

In general it's also helpful to have "one file" across multiple machines. Edits are always to the one file, not to a copy that has to be updated when it changes.

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