Operation-based Update Propagation in a Mobile File System

Yui-Wah Le, Kwong-Sak Leung, Mahadev Satyanarayanan


In this paper we describe a technique called operationbased update propagation for efficiently transmitting updates to large files that have been modified on a weakly connected client of a distributed file system. In this technique, modifications are captured above the file-system layer at the client, shipped to a surrogate client that is strongly connected to a server, re-executed at the surrogate, and the resulting files transmitted from the surrogate to the server. If re-execution fails to produce a file identical to the original, the system falls back to shipping the file from the client over the slow network. We have implemented a prototype of this mechanism in the Coda File System on Linux, and demonstrated performance improvements ranging from 40 percents to nearly three orders of magnitude in reduced network traffic and elapsed time. We also found a novel use of forward error correction in this context.