AFS is a distributed filesystem that enables co-operating hosts (clients and servers) to efficiently share filesystem resources across both local area and wide area networks.

AFS is based on a distributed file system originally developed at the Information Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University that was called the "Andrew File System".

AFS is marketed, maintained, and extended by Transarc Corporation.

"Andrew" was the name of the research project at CMU - honouring the founders of the University. Once Transarc was formed and AFS became a product, the "Andrew" was dropped to indicate that AFS had gone beyond the Andrew research project and had become a supported, product quality filesystem. However, there were a number of existing cells that rooted their filesystem as /afs. At the time, changing the root of the filesystem was a non-trivial undertaking. So, to save the early AFS sites from having to rename their filesystem, AFS remained as the name and filesystem root.

Essentially, from a user's point of view, there is little difference between AFS and local unix filestore. Nearly all the commands normally used to access local files can be used to access files in /afs.

The main strengths of AFS are its: