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DPFS: DPU-Powered File System Virtualization

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As we move towards hyper-converged cloud solutions, the efficiency and overheads of distributed file systems at the cloud tenant side (i.e., client) become of paramount importance. Often, the client-side driver of a cloud file system is complex and CPU intensive, deeply coupled with the backend implementation, and requires optimizing multiple intrusive knobs. In this work, we propose to decouple the file system client from its backend implementation by virtualizing it with an off-the-shelf DPU using the Linux virtio-fs software stack. The decoupling allows us to offload the file system client execution to a DPU, which is managed and optimized by the cloud provider, while freeing the host CPU cycles. DPFS, our proposed framework, is 4.4× more host CPU efficient per I/O, delivers comparable performance to a tenant with zero-configuration and without modification of their host software stack, while allowing workload and hardware specific backend optimizations. The DPFS framework and its artifacts are publically available at