CellServDB - Lists the database server machines in AFS cells
There are two versions of the CellServDB
file, both of which have the
same format. One version is used by an AFS client and lists all of the
database server machines in the local cell and any foreign cell that is to be
accessible from the local client machine. The other version is used on servers
and need list only the database servers in the local cell; in some
configurations it can be a link to the same file the client uses.
Along with AFSDB and SRV entries in DNS, the client version of the CellServDB
file lists the database server machines in the local cell and any foreign cell
that is to be accessible from the local client machine. Database server
machines run the Authentication Server (optional), Backup Server (optional),
Protection Server, and Volume Location (VL) Server (the kaserver
, and vlserver
) processes, which
maintain the cell's administrative AFS databases.
The Cache Manager and other processes running on a client machine use the list
of a cell's database server machines when performing several common functions,
- Fetching files. The Cache Manager contacts the VL Server to learn the
location of the volume containing a requested file or directory.
- Creating, viewing, and manipulating protection groups. The pts
command interpreter contacts the Protection Server when users create
protection groups or request information from the Protection
- Populating the contents of the fake root.afs volume mounted at
/afs (or the alternative mount point specified in cacheinfo)
when afsd is run in "-dynroot" mode. The default contents
of this directory will match the cells listed in the client
- Authenticating users. Client-side authentication programs (such as an
AFS-modified login utility or the klog command interpreter) contact
the Authentication Server to obtain a server ticket, which the AFS server
processes accept as proof that the user is authenticated. This only
applies to AFS cells using the deprecated Authentication Server instead of
Kerberos v5 and aklog.
The Cache Manager reads the CellServDB file into kernel memory as it
initializes, and not again until the machine next reboots or the client
service restarts. To enable users on the local machine to continue accessing
the cell correctly, update the file whenever a database server machine is
added to or removed from a cell. To update the kernel-resident list of
database server machines without rebooting, use the fs newcell
If the client attempts to access an AFS cell not listed in CellServDB
was started with the -afsdb
option, the Cache Manager will
attempt a DNS SRV or AFSDB record lookup and dynamically add the database
server locations for that cell based on the result of the DNS query. If the
option was not used, all AFS cells that will be accessed by a
client machine must either be listed in CellServDB
or added with the
file is in ASCII format and must reside in the
directory on each AFS client machine. Use a text editor to
create and maintain it.
The client version of the CellServDB
file is distinct from the server
version, which resides in the /etc/openafs/server
directory on each AFS
server machine. The client version lists the database server machines in every
AFS cell that the cell administrator wants the machine's users to be able to
access, whereas the server version lists only the local cell's database server
The server version of the CellServDB
file lists the local cell's database
server machines. These machines run the Authentication Server (optional),
Backup Server (optional), Protection Server, and Volume Location (VL) Server
, and vlserver
processes, which maintain the cell's administrative AFS databases. The initial
version of the file is created with the bos setcellname
during the installation of the cell's server machine, which is automatically
recorded as the cell's first database server machine. When adding or removing
database server machines, be sure to update this file appropriately. It must
reside in the /etc/openafs/server
directory on each AFS server machine.
The database server processes, in addition to the usual configuration allowing
each to be elected synchronization site and coordinate updates, can be set up
as readonly database clone servers. Such servers can never be elected as the
The database server processes consult the CellServDB
file to learn about
their peers, with which they must maintain constant connections in order to
coordinate replication of changes across the multiple copies of each database.
The other AFS server processes consult the file to learn which machines to
contact for information from the databases when they need it.
Although the server CellServDB
file is in ASCII format, do not use a text
editor to alter it. Instead always use the appropriate commands from the
- The bos addhost command to add a machine to the file.
- The bos listhosts command to display the list of machines from the
- The bos removehost command to remove a machine from the file.
In cells that use the Update Server to distribute the contents of the
directory, it is customary to edit only the copy of
the file stored on the system control machine. Otherwise, edit the file on
each server machine individually. For instructions on adding and removing
database server machine, see the OpenAFS Quick Start
installing additional server machines. Updates to the server CellServDB
will trigger reloading the cell server configurations automatically in the AFS
files have the same format:
- The first line begins at the left margin with the greater-than character
(">"), followed immediately by the cell's name without an
intervening space. Optionally, a comment can follow any number of spaces
and a octothorpe ("#"), perhaps to identify the organization
associated with the cell. A variant of this allows the definition of a
linked cell: after the leading (">") and cell name, a space
and a second cell name may be listed before the optional spaces,
octothorpe and comment.
- Each subsequent line in the entry identifies one of the cell's database
server machines, with the indicated information in order:
- The database server machine's IP address in dotted-decimal format,
optionally enclosed in square braces ("[")("]") to
define a non-voting clone.
- One or more spaces.
- An octothorpe (#), followed by the machine's fully qualified hostname
without an intervening space. This number sign does not indicate that the
hostname is a comment. It is a required field.
No extra blank lines or newline characters are allowed in the file, even after
the last entry. Their presence can prevent the Cache Manager from reading the
file into kernel memory, resulting in an error message.
For the client CellServDB
, it may be desirable to make the client aware
of a cell (so that it's listed by default in /afs
flag to afsd
is in use, for instance) without
specifying the database server machines for that cell. This can be done by
including only the cell line (starting with ">") and omitting any
following database server machine lines. afsd
must be configured with
option to use DNS SRV or AFSDB record lookups to locate
database server machines. If the cell has such records and the client is
configured to use them, this configuration won't require updates to the client
file when the IP addresses of the database server machines
grand.central.org maintains a list of the database server machines in all cells
that have registered themselves as receptive to access from foreign cells.
When a cell's administrators change its database server machines, it is
customary to register the change with grand.central.org for inclusion in this
file. The file conforms to the required CellServDB
format, and so is a
suitable basis for the CellServDB
file on a client machine. You can
download this file from <http://grand.central.org/
The following example shows entries for two cells in a client CellServDB
file and illustrates the required format.
>abc.com # ABC Corporation
>test.abc.com abc.com # ABC Corporation Test Cell
OpenAFS Quick Start
IBM Corporation 2000. <http://www.ibm.com/
> All Rights Reserved.
This documentation is covered by the IBM Public License Version 1.0. It was
converted from HTML to POD by software written by Chas Williams and Russ
Allbery, based on work by Alf Wachsmann and Elizabeth Cassell.