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NFS4 mount shows all ownership as "nobody" or 4294967294

This document (7005060) is provided subject to the disclaimer at the end of this document.

Environment

SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11
SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10

Situation

An NFS client is successfully mounting an NFS v4 file system.  However, upon executing "ls -al," all the file user and group ownership is showing as "nobody" or as "4294967294", instead of the values that are shown when viewed directly on the remote NFS server.

Resolution

For user names to be displayed correctly, the NFS v4 server must have knowledge of the same user and group accounts as the NFS client.  If users and groups are centrally managed, this works automatically.  With previous NFS protocol versions, it was sufficient to create identical user accounts on all clients accessing an NFS server. These accounts didn't need to exist on the server itself because the files were only served by user ID.  However, with NFSv4, identity tracking has been redesigned and now uses a identity mapping daemon (idmapd).  It's crucial that server and client have access to identical account information, or idmapd cannot properly do it's job and may display ownership as "nobody" or equivalent high values.
 
Both the NFS server and the NFS client must run idmapd and have good idmapd.conf files.  Even when the same accounts are known to both the servers and clients, idmapd configuration problems can prevent proper ownership from being displayed.
 
Check the /etc/idmapd.conf file.  The [General] section should have a Domain setting.  This typically matches the DNS domain name, but does not necessarily have to.  NFS servers and NFS clients which interact with each other should have their idmap domains set identically.  It can also be helpful for there to be a [Translation] section which specifies the method of translating between names and IDs.  Typically, it is best to point to nsswitch methodology.
  
So, for example, a typical idmapd.conf file might look like the following:
 
[General]
Verbosity=7
Pipefs-Directory=/var/lib/nfs/rpc_pipefs
Domain=test.novell2.com
 
[Mapping]
Nobody-User=nobody
Nobody-Group=nobody
 
[Translation]
Method=nsswitch

 
If changes are made to this file on any system, or if a system is already configured this way and still does not function correctly, try restarting idmapd.  On some versions of SLES (typically SLE 10) this can be done with:
rcidmapd restart
 
On other versions (typically SLE 11), idmapd isn't setup to stop and start independently of NFS services, so the necessary commands would be:
 
If the system is an nfs client:
rcnfs restart
 
If the system is an NFS server:
rcnfsserver restart
 
If the system is both an NFS server and an NFS client:
rcnfs stop
rcnfsserver stop
(repeat the above commands if messages indicate something could not be stopped or is busy)
rcnfsserver start
rcnfs start

Disclaimer

This Support Knowledgebase provides a valuable tool for NetIQ/Novell/SUSE customers and parties interested in our products and solutions to acquire information, ideas and learn from one another. Materials are provided for informational, personal or non-commercial use within your organization and are presented "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND.

  • Document ID:7005060
  • Creation Date:17-DEC-09
  • Modified Date:23-OCT-12
    • SUSESUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop
      SUSE Linux Enterprise Server

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