The ITC Distributed File System: Principles and Design

M. Satyanarayanan, J.H. Howard, D.A. Nichols, R.N. Sidebotham, A.Z. Spector, M.J. West


This paper presents the design and rationale of a distributed file system for a network of more than 5000 personal computer workstations. While scale has been the dominant design influence, careful attention has also been paid to the goals of location transparency, user mobility and compatibility with existing operating system interfaces. Security is an important design consideration, and the mechanisms for it do not assume that the workstations or the network are secure. Caching of entire files at workstations is a key element in this design. A prototype of this system has been built and is in use by a user community of about 400 individuals. A refined implementation that will scale more gracefully and provide better performance is close to completion.