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Linux Magazine: Distributed Filesystems for Linux

Jan 27, 2001, 18:39 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Bill Von Hagen)

"Filesystems that can be shared over networks are more properly known as "distributed filesystems" because shared files and directories are available on (or distributed across) many different computers on a network. Most distributed filesystems are examples of client/server computing, where servers export files and directories and accept updates to them, while clients import files and directories and send updates."

"The history of distributed filesystems on commercial Unix and Unix-like systems began with the proprietary Domain network filesystems introduced on Apollo workstations in the early 1980s. It continues through Sun MicroSystems' NFS (Network Filesystems), introduced in the mid 1980s, and culminates in more sophisticated, higher-performance network-based filesystems such as IBM's AFS, Carnegie Mellon University's CODA, and Stelias Computing's InterMezzo. NFS was the first open implementation of a networked filesystem; its specifications and protocols were publicly available, and NFS was therefore quickly supported on many different types of computer systems."

"Distributed filesystems provide significant advantages to almost everyone who uses or manages computers. They enable users to access their data files in exactly the same way from different computers. If the machine on your desk fails, just use another; your files are still intact and safe on the centralized file server. Maximizing information sharing and availability on college campuses was the genesis of many of the projects that led to the filesystems described in this article."

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