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The Zebra Striped Network File System II

By Hartman, John Henry

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Book Id: WPLBN0003760904
Format Type: PDF eBook :
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Reproduction Date: 2015

Title: The Zebra Striped Network File System II  
Author: Hartman, John Henry
Language: English
Subject: Programming, File System Specifications, Computer Science
Collections: Technical eBooks and Manuals Collection, Technical Books Center Collection
Publication Date:
Publisher: University of California


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Hartman, J. H. (1994). The Zebra Striped Network File System II. Retrieved from

Description: This dissertation presents a new network file system, called Zebra, that provides high performance file access and is highly available. Zebra stripes file data across its servers, so that multiple servers may participate in a file access and the file access bandwidth therefore scales with the number of servers. Zebra is also highly available because it stores parity information in the style of a RAID [Patterson88] disk array; this increases storage costs slightly but allows the system to continue operation even while a single storage server is unavailable. Zebra is different from other striped network file systems in the way in which it stripes data. Instead of striping individual files (file-based striping), Zebra forms the data written by each client into an append-only log, which is then striped across the servers. In addition, the parity of each log is computed and stored as the log is striped. I call this form of striping log-based striping, and its operation is similar to that of a log-structured file system (LFS) [Rosenblum91]. Zebra can be thought of as a log-structured network file system: whereas LFS uses a log abstraction at the interface between a file server and its disks, Zebra uses a log abstraction at the interface between a client and its servers. Striping logs, instead of files, simplifies Zebra’s parity mechanism, reduces parity overhead, and allows clients to batch together small writes. I have built a prototype implementation of Zebra in the Sprite operating system [Ousterhout88]. Measurements of the prototype show that Zebra provides 4-5 times the throughput of the standard Sprite file system or NFS for large files, and a 15-300% improvement for writing small files. The utilizations of the system resources indicate that the prototype can scale to support a maximum aggregate write bandwidth of 20 Mbytes/ second, or about ten clients writing at their maximum rate.


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