Data Centers

Membrane: Operating System Support for Restartable File Systems

Date Added: Sep 2010
Format: PDF

The authors introduce Membrane, a set of changes to the operating system to support restartable file systems. Membrane allows an operating system to tolerate a broad class of file system failures, and does so while remaining transparent to running applications; upon failure, the file system restarts, its state is restored, and pending application requests are serviced as if no failure had occurred. Membrane provides transparent recovery through a lightweight logging and checkpoint infrastructure, and includes novel techniques to improve performance and correctness of its fault-anticipation and recovery machinery. The authors tested Membrane with ext2, ext3, and VFAT. Through experimentation, they show that Membrane induces little performance overhead and can tolerate a wide range of file system crashes.