NFSv4.1, pNFS and a demo (oh, my!)

One of my day time jobs is that of co-chair of the IETF NFSv4 working group. The working group has been busy for "awhile" in building the first minor version of NFS version 4 (NFSv4.1).

Well, the working group has made very good progress as of late and my co-editors (Mike Eisler and David Noveck) and I have been hosting a series of formal reviews of the Internet Draft in an attempt to flush out subtleties in the protocol that have yet to be noticed. We are making very good progress with the help of many people within the working group (Thanks everyone!). It is a lot of work to consume the NFSv4.1 Internet Draft and to make considered, helpful comments on how to improve it. I very much appreciate it.

In any case, NFSv4.1 adds many needed features. The areas of special note are:

  • Sessions
  • Directory Delegations
  • ACL inheritance
  • Namespace Extensions
  • pNFS (parallel NFS)

I will return another day to describe more about the various things on this list but today's focus is the pNFS (parallel NFS) feature.

A brief description of pNFS goes something like this:

pNFS (parallel NFS) is a distributed, parallel file system which provides a highly scalable data management solution through:

  1. Parallel data transfers across many NFSv4.1 data servers
  2. A single, unified namespace for all objects in the pNFS file system

Sounds very formal doesn't it; heh. In any case, the ideas behind the pNFS functionality are not new to filesystem technology, however it is the first embodiment in an openly defined protocol.

The OpenSolaris pNFS team has put together a quick demo of our pNFS prototype. Check it out and then follow along over at the NFSv41 OpenSolaris project page.

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