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We propose a name service that enables construction of a uniform, global, hierarchical namespace, a key feature needed to create a file-system grid. Combined with other grid replication and location-lookup mechanisms, it supports independence of position for users and applications as well as transparency of data location in a scalable and secure fashion. This name service enables federation of individual files as well as file-system trees that are exported by a variety of distributed file systems and is extensible to include non-file-system data such as databases or live data feeds. Such a federated namespace for files can be rendered by network file servers, such as NFS (Network File System) or CIFS (Common Internet File System) servers, proxies supporting the NAS (network-attached storage) protocol, or grid data service interfaces. File access proxies, which handle protocol translation, can also include caching and replication support to enhance data access performance. A uniform namespace with global scope and hierarchical ownership allows sharing file data between and within organizations without compromising security or autonomy.
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