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A 64-bit, shared disk file system for Linux

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9 Author(s)
K. W. Preslan ; Dept. of Electr. & Comput. Eng., Minnesota Univ., MN, USA ; A. P. Barry ; J. E. Brassow ; G. M. Erickson
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In computer systems today, speed and responsiveness is often determined by network and storage subsystem performance. Faster, more scalable networking interfaces like Fibre Channel and Gigabit Ethernet provide the scaffolding from which higher performance implementations may be constructed, but new thinking is required about how machines interact with network-enabled storage devices. We have developed a Linux file system called GFS (the Global File System) that allows multiple Linux machines to access and share disk and tape devices on a Fibre Channel or SCSI storage network. We plan to extend GFS by transporting packetized SCSI commands over IP so that any GFS-enabled Linux machine can access shared network devices. GFS will perform well as a local file system, as a traditional network file system running over LP, and as a high-performance cluster file system running over storage networks like Fibre Channel. GFS device sharing provides a key cluster-enabling technology for Linux, helping to bring the availability, scalability, and load balancing benefits of clustering to Linux. Our goal is to develop a scalable, (in number of clients and devices, capacity, connectivity, and bandwidth) server-less file system that integrates IF-based network attached storage (NAS) and Fibre-Channel-based storage area networks (SAN). We call this new architecture Storage Area InterNetworking (SAINT). It exploits the speed and device scalability of SAN clusters, and provides the client scalability and network interoperability of NAS appliances. Our Linux port shows that the GFS architecture is portable across different platforms, and we are currently working on a port to NetBSD. The GFS code is open source (GPL) software freely available on the Internet at

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Mass Storage Systems, 1999. 16th IEEE Symposium on

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