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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.
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