Scale and Performance in a Distributed File System
J.H. Howard, M.L. Kazar, S.G. Menees, D.A. Nichols, M. Satyanarayanan,
R.N. Sidebotham, M.J. West
The Andrew File System is a location-transparent distributed file system
that will eventually span more than 5000 workstations at Carnegie Mellon
University. Large scale affects performance and complicates system operation.
In this paper we present observations of a prototype implementation, motivate
changes in the areas of cache validation, server process structure, name
translation and low-level storage representation, and quantitatively demonstrate
Andrew's ability to scale gracefully. We establish the importance of whole-file
transfer and caching in Andrew by comparing its performance with that of
Sun Microsystem's NFS file system. We also show how the aggregation of
files into volumes improves the operability of the system.