How to enable NFS in Windows Server 2012 beta

NFS and Windows do not have a good history together, but that is supposed to change with Windows Server 2012. Rickatron shows how to connect an NFS mount to Windows Server 2012 in this post.

I’ll be honest; I’ve never really cared much for NFS storage. NFS is a network based storage protocol, popular in the Linux and UNIX realms as well as within unified storage products. This is because I’ve gravitated towards block protocols such as iSCSI and Fibre Channel. Further, most of my operating systems are Windows and connecting NFS resources to them has been, well, horrible over the years. In fact, even with third-party tools I just avoided it.

That is all supposedly better with Windows Server 2012. When I was at the reviewer’s workshop, it was iterated to us over and over that NFS support is much improved with the next version of the Windows Server operating system. I’ve given it a try with the current beta and I’ll say, it is pretty easy!

The first step is to add the Client for the NFS feature from the default Windows Server 2012 install. This is done in the Manage menu and selecting Add/Remove Features. Figure A shows this feature being added:

Figure A

Adding the feature for the NFS Client is easy

Adding the feature for the NFS Client is easy (click to enlarge).

From a default installation, a reboot is required. But after that, the service just works. There are a few prerequisites, however, to ensure that the experience is fine. The first is to make sure that DNS resolves correctly by fully qualified domain name; there will be no peer-to-peer NetBIOS resolution helping you out on this one. Secondly, a security mapping may need to be done. This maps either the Active Directory user to the connection, or the UNIX/Linux username to the connection (found in the properties of the NFS Client). In my example, I’m allowing access to the NFS mount via IP address, so that’s an option as well.

Once those steps are addressed, I’m simply able to map a drive to the NFS mount and immediately access the space via a drive mapping. This step is shown in Figure B below:

Figure B

The configuration is very straighforward for NFS mounts to be accessed in Windows Server 2012 Beta.

Configuration for NFS mounts to be accessed in Windows Server 2012 Beta (click to enlarge)

I must say, from the initial experience part of NFS connectivity, Windows Server has come a long way with making this feature easier to add. But, we’re still in beta and this was a simple example in my home lab. Do you have a need for robust NFS mounts accessible in Windows? How have you worked around the less-than-desirable options thus far? Share your comments below.