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Is it possible to import a file system owned by a single user, (e.g. mounted via NFS) and export it again as multiple virtual volumes, owned by multiple users, where each volume is a folder on the single-user owned file system imported via NFS?

The file system does not need to have great performance, so even something that does a custom workflow like tar:ing each file that is saved, might be acceptable.

Background

At the HPC Center I'm working at, we are managing data access to an dCache based storage, which is mountable via NFS.

The problem is that we have one big storage account, without possibility to add more user accounts or groups/projects (we have one UNIX group per research project), but still we need to manage access there for hundreds of different users and groups, without access between the groups (one folder per group is enough).

So far we've done this by only letting users interact with the storage through a dropbox-like solution, so that the actual file-moving to the storage is done by our single "robot" user, which is the only one with access to the remote storage. Then we have developed custom scripts that places the files in a file structure that reflects the users' projects, and the date of the "check-in" of a fileset.

I thought that there might be a better solution with some clever import/exporting of file systems though.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Yes, you can re-export an NFS share.

It's generally a Bad Idea™, though - first from a performance viewpoint (that's a lot fo traffic in-out-in-out on the same wire, and second from a reliability standpoint (if your machine has issues, or if the originating server has issues, or NIS/LDAP problems, etc etc).

Might there be another method you could employ? Perhaps upgrade/migrate to a NAS device like a NetApp filer?

In a question I asked a while back, several alternatives were provided.

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Many thanks for the info, and the link. In terms of network traffic, we should be able to use double network cards ... I guess we are stuck to the current NFS solution since the remote storage I want to re-export, is a nation-wide storage distributed over the country, so we won't change that infrastructure over the day :") –  Samuel Lampa Sep 14 '11 at 19:05
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