The user-space NFS server traditionally used in Linux works reliably but suffers performance problems when overworked. This is primarily because of the overhead the system call interface adds to its operation, and because it must compete for time with other, potentially less important, user-space processes.
The 2.2.0 kernel supports an experimental kernel-based NFS server developed by Olaf Kirch and further developed by H.J. Lu, G. Allan Morris, and Trond Myklebust. The kernel-based NFS support provides a significant boost in server performance.
In current release distributions, you may find the server tools available in prepackaged form. If not, you can locate them at http://csua.berkeley.edu/~gam3/knfsd/. You need to build a 2.2.0 kernel with the kernel-based NFS daemon included in order to make use of the tools. You can check if your kernel has the NFS daemon included by looking to see if the /proc/sys/sunrpc/nfsd_debug file exists. If it's not there, you may have to load the rpc.nfsd module using the modprobe utility.
The kernel-based NFS daemon uses a standard /etc/exports configuration file. The package supplies replacement versions of the rpc.mountd and rpc.nfsd daemons that you start much the same way as their userspace daemon counterparts.