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Building a Single File System from Many NFS Servers

Muntz, Dan


Keyword(s): file system; distributed NFS; virtualization

Abstract: In this paper we describe an architecture, NFS^2, for uniting several NFS servers under a single namespace. This architecture has some interesting properties. First, the physical file systems that make up an NFS^2 instance, i.e., the file systems on the individual NFS servers, may be heterogeneous. This, combined with the way the NFS^2 namespace is constructed, allows files of different types (text, video, etc.) to be served from file servers (potentially) optimized for each type. Second, NFS^2 storage is strictly partitioned- each NFS server is solely responsible for allocating the resources under its control. This eliminates resource contention and distributed lock management, commonly found in cluster file systems. Third, because the system may be constructed with standard NFS servers, it can benefit from existing HA solutions for individual nodes, and improves as NFS servers improve.

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