IBM J. Res. Dev

IBM Scale out File Services: Reinventing network-attached storage

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This paper focuses on the challenges of creating a scalable network-attached storage (NAS) filer with hundreds of nodes on top of the IBM General Parallel File System™ (GPFS™). The filer is created as a multiheaded data exporter over Ethernet and uses the Common Internet File System (CIFS) as implemented by the Samba open-source project and a Network File System (NFS) protocol server. Special focus is given to ensure the consistency of data in an efficient manner for applications that have complex access patterns from a large number of nodes. Also considered are the challenges of providing an extremely high-performance facility for exporting data in parallel and the demands of storing very large amounts of data. Introducing new aspects of storage management - such as storage pools and file sets as they are implemented in current file systems - into NAS appliances enables the management of large amounts of data in a single namespace. © Copyright 2008 by International Business Machines Corporation.