Storage

Reusing Migration to Simply and Efficiently Implement Multi-Server Operations in Transparently Scalable Storage Systems

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Executive Summary

Distributed file systems that scale by partitioning files and directories among a collection of servers inevitably encounter multi-server operations. A common example is a RENAME that moves a file from a directory managed by one server to a directory managed by another. Transparently scalable systems (those that provide the same semantics for multi-server operations as they do for single-server operations) traditionally implement dedicated protocols for these rare operations. This paper explores an alternate approach, with simplicity as a goal that exploits the existence of migration functionality normally used for load balancing. When a client request would involve files on multiple servers, the system can migrate responsibility for those files onto one server and have it service the request.

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