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ARCHIVED: What is AFS?

Note: UITS is decommissioning the AFS cell ovpit@indiana.edu and replacing it with the OpenAFS cell IU.EDU. For more information, see the Knowledge Base document The Research File System (RFS) at Indiana University

AFS stands for the Andrew File System, a distributed file system. AFS is conceptually similar to NFS (Network File System) in that it allows you to share disk space among hosts, but AFS accomplishes this in a different way.

AFS is a global file system that lets all AFS participants on the Internet share one logical file space. The root level directory is /afs, with Internet domains such as indiana.edu descending from there. For example, /afs/umich.edu/... could be a directory. This effectively allows file sharing across the Internet without the use of FTP, and without the localized restrictions of NFS.

AFS started life as a project at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Some of the main players involved in the development later started a company called Transarc Corporation to market the product. Transarc was acquired by IBM and is now a wholly owned subsidiary. Recently IBM withdrew support for AFS. Prior to discontinuing AFS, IBM made a copy of the source available for community development and maintenance; OpenAFS is the name of this release. Indiana University's data storage service, the Research File System, is based on OpenAFS.

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Last modified on August 30, 2010.

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