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Administrator Experiences

Administrators were happy to be relieved of dealing with users after the initial setup. After an administrator granted a user access to a desired directory with a signed credential, there was little reason for any user to contact an administrator. Further files could be created, and access could be delegated to other users without external administrative intervention. However, initial setup of the system was at times cumbersome. As our first DisCFS prototype was based on NFS, administrators had to deal with setting up initial NFS mountpoints on each client for each server that offered DisCFS services. In hindsight, it would have been better to circumvent the mountd protocol. Setting up DisCFS initially also required a good understanding of IPsec configuration.

Administrators also pointed out some security concerns they had with the first prototype. Currently, a KeyNote query is not performed for every nfs call, only on getattr calls. While this improves performance, it also means that we trust the client software to enforce the returned UNIX permission bits, something that will change in future releases of DisCFS.

Stefan Miltchev