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From Allard Hoeve <>
Subject Forbidden errors when files are moved over other files on NFS?
Date Fri, 23 May 2008 09:58:14 GMT

Hello All,

I'm trying to get to the bottom of a problem my customers are experiencing 
while serving files that are checked out from SVN on one server on an NFS 
mount and served by Apache from NFS mounts on other hosts.

The problem is not limited to SVN, it is also created by "move" commands 
issued on the server (see below).

The setup is as following:

* One shellserver has all homedirs mounted over NFS.
* Clients distribute their sourcecode to several accounts
   through SVN update commands.
* Webservers serve the checked out files from similar NFS mounts.

When updating the checkout and thereby modifying a file named (say 
"testfile"), SVN creates a temporary file (say "testfile.tmp") in which 
the new content is stored. To guarantee atomicity "testfile.tmp" is then 
moved over "testfile". So far so good on the shellserver.

This is where things go wrong on the webserver hosts, however:

1) The NFS client on the webserver thinks the original file is still in
2) Apache accesses the old inode.
3) Apache gets ESTALE and returns a FORBIDDEN status.

The file is no longer served.

Let us agree that this destroys any chance of using SVN over NFS :)

This is easily recreated using an NFS server and two hosts that have an 
export mounted. Let's do things with "mv" only, just to show that the 
problem is not subversion's:

1) On one host (A), create an NFS export. Mount it somewhere on the same machine.
2) On another host (B), mount the same export.
3) Create a file on (A).
4) Access the file on (B) through the fileserver.
5) Create a new file, move it over "testfile".
6) Access the file on (B) through the fileserver


[Fri May 23 11:44:40 2008] [error] [client] (116)Stale NFS
   file handle: access to /test/testfile failed

Now I know that ESTALE is a critical error. However, something is done 
differently between Apache and for example "cat".

Now, moving files over other files is pretty common so I really need to 
fix the problem.

* Is this known behaviour?
* Is it even Apache's fault?
* Why does stat work but does Apache fail to server the file?

There are some additional links at the bottom of the mail for reference.

Thanks for your time!


Allard Hoeve

Response by an NFS developer:

Another summary:

Same problem, other reporter:

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