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In a Linux network environment, is it a wise choice to put the user's home directory on a remote hard disk?

The advantage would be that a user can login on any machine and have its own home directory available.

The problem is performance: doing the most common operations (e.g. opening a directory window) can take forever! On the other side, other operations are completed very quickly.

Even launching an application from the local hard disk can be slow, maybe because the user's files are still far away.

Could a remote home directory be the cause of these problems?

What could be the solution? Would a local home directory periodically copied to the remote disk be a good idea?

Thank you.


Linux OpenSUSE 11.4 I don't know much about the network configuration.

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Mar 11 '13 at 17:39

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What are you using for the mounts? –  prodigitalson Mar 11 '13 at 17:31

1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Yes, a remote home can be the cause of such problems. A directory browser sometimes tends to create tons of thumbnails by reading all the files - which is slow over network and even slower for many files.

Syncing user data with a remote disk may be the cause of new problems..

You could try to keep volatile data like cache directories local. This unimportant data can be located on a local disk while configuration files and personal data of the user can reside on the remote file server.

One directory to start with could be ${HOME}/.cache which could be symlinked to some local directory (be sure to create this directory with correct permissions for every user [may be on the fly during login]).

Or depending on the applications that the user runs it may be sufficient to set the XDG_CACHE_HOME (default: ${HOME}/.cache) environment variable to point to some other directory. (Which may speed up thumbnail viewing too if thumbnails are stored in .cache/thumbnails by the directory browser)..

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