This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will develop a cloud file system platform based on the recently-finalized NFSv4.1/pNFS standard, with extensions for flexible replication and service-bureau management. The intellectual merit of the project lies in novel mechanisms for flexible replication, by which the company means mutable replication (replication of writable data), client-based replication, and replication with negotiated consistency guarantees. The company propose pNFS replication layouts, which will enable servers and clients negotiate replication strategies that best fit administrative preferences to application consistency requirements. Mutable replication with consistency is a major advance in the state of the art for distributed filing, as implementations in mainstream distributed file systems have not emerged.

The broader goals of the project include advancement of standards-based storage infrastructure, advancement of open source as well as proprietary file system technology, and development of software infrastructure that can be readily commercialized. The result is well suited to deployment on commodity computing equipment, but also to integration with dedicated, fast storage and networking hardware. The goals of the effort include increasing the flexibility and simplicity of current storage management abstractions, exceeding the current state of the art. Experiences with the current system at enterprise scale suggest that the volume abstraction be enriched with classifications (such as volumes with specific availability and consistency guarantees, replication strategies, or underlying storage capability), from which organizations can construct policies. The investigators have received expressions of interest from commercial and academic organizations willing to participate in early stage pilots to provide testing, feedback, and validation.

Project Report

Topic: Information and Communication Technologies (IC) topic, and subtopic IC1.G (Services, Cloud-enabled Services) Firm: Linux Box Corporation Principal Investigator: Matthew Benjamin Overview In this NSF SBIR Phase I project, the investigators designed and developed PitC: pNFS in the Cloud, a prototype computer software for reliable, replicated data storage that combines the Ganesha NFSv4 server, the Ceph distributed file system, and the Linux kernel NFSv4.1 client file system driver with innovative technologies to support consistent, low-latency file replication. Open source contributions The researchers made substantive, useful contributions to a number of open-source software projects, including: Ganesha NFSv4 file server developed at the French Commissariat à l'énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives (Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission) TI-RPC open source remote procedure call library developed by Sun Microsystems (now part of Oracle, Inc.) the open source Linux kernel Change sets targeting the Ganesha server have been contributed to the maintainers. The Ganesha source code repository is Change sets targeting TI-RPC are available at Changes targeting the Linux kernel NFS client are experimental, but will be offered for inclusion to the appropriate maintainers, following appropriate review and presuming eventual standardization. Further information Further information regarding NSF 1014137 and further developments will be made available at Matthew Benjamin Principal Investigator

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The Linux Box Corporation
Ann Arbor
United States
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