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The authors present a novel distributed naming mechanism (DNM) that is fit for network file system design. With the help of DNM, we build a new distributed file system paradigm: cluster file system. In our system, DNM not only offers the desired features of high availability, high scalability and I/O load balancing, but also spans a single volume on multiple servers to construct a "real" distributed file system. We propose the DNM structure which relies on a global replicated table and a local information database. To improve the performance of name translation, a tree-based name cache is introduced. A prototype of the name mechanism has been implemented in our cluster file system.