Key Infrastructure Technology Empowers Linux to Scale as
Platform for Enterprise-Class Applications.
RALEIGH, N.C. (May 20, 1999) -- At the Linux Expo in Raleigh,
SGI (NYSE: SGI) today announced it will contribute its journaled
file system technology, XFSTM,
to the open source community. XFS is a key component of the
company's highly successful IRIX® operating system and is the
world's most scalable and robust journaled file sharing technology.
In a separate release today, SGI announced that it will investigate
with Veritas the development of a unified Linux journaled file
"The XFS file system has long been one of the UNIX
industry's most advanced file system implementations and one of the
crown jewels of the IRIX operating systems," said Tony Iams, vice
president of Midrange Systems and Software Research at D.H. Brown
Associates. "SGI is demonstrating a commitment to Linux technology
investment surpassing other conventional UNIX vendors who have
focused primarily on sales and support."
"SGI's contribution of XFS to the open-source community has huge
implications for the future of Linux as an enterprise-class
application platform," said John R. "Beau" Vrolyk, senior vice
president, Computer Systems Business Unit, SGI. "XFS addresses one
of the key issues previously limiting Linux - the lack of a
journaled file system. Journaling improves performance and speeds
recovery in the event of a system failure." XFS also provides full
64-bit file capabilities that will enable LinuxTM to scale easily to handle file systems as
large as 18 million terabytes (18x1018) of data and file sizes as
large as 9 million terabytes.
The Need to Scale
During the late 1980s, when disk capacities started approaching the
2GB ceiling of the file systems designed to manage them, it became
clear that users would soon need a file system capable of scaling
to meet demand for large systems. To ensure that it had a file
system capable of taking users into the next millenium, SGI
designed XFS to address several underlying architecture issues that
would guarantee the scalability and robustness of its new file
system when dealing with large files or large numbers of files.
"XFS is unrivaled in the management of large file
systems, large files, large directories, large numbers of files and
overall file system performance," said Anne Vincenti, director of
marketing, Storage and Networking, SGI. "XFS is able to scale where
other file systems would simply fail to perform. At the same time,
XFS provides enhanced reliability and rapid crash recovery without
"The SGI XFS file system delivers outstanding performance for
large 2D and 3D data sets associated with ILM's award winning
special effects," said Joe Takai, director of Production
Engineering, Industrial Light & Magic. "Bringing these
high-performance, file-handling capabilities to Linux will
significantly increase the value of Linux as an operating
The XFS File System Contribution to Open
XFS technology will benefit Linux and the open-source community in
many ways, including:
XFS was designed to scale to meet the most demanding storage
capacity and I/O storage needs through:
- Large File Systems and Large Files
XFS is designed to handle rapid growth far into the 21st
century. It enables users to manage file systems and individual
files as large as an exabyte (1018 bytes), millions of times larger
than the largest file systems of today.
- Large Directories, Large Numbers of Files
SGI realized that as file systems became larger, the old way of
searching files in a linear fashion would become so slow in large
systems that it would render them useless. XFS incorporates large
directories to address this problem. XFS has the ability to
dynamically allocate index space for files, enabling systems to
efficiently scale to support large numbers of files.
Modern servers typically use large, striped disk arrays capable
of providing aggregate bandwidths of tens to hundreds of megabytes
per second. The key to optimizing performance from these arrays are
I/O request size and I/O request parallelism.
XFS can recover from most unexpected interruptions in less than
a second, regardless of the number of files being managed.
Traditional file systems must do special file-system checks after
an interruption, which can take many hours to complete. The XFS
journaling features avoid the need for these lengthy file-system
checks and also significantly reduce the time for reading and
"This is terrific news and we're happy to have SGI as
part of the open source family," said Ransom Love, president and
CEO of Caldera Systems, Inc. "There's a great need in Linux for
business to have that enterprise-class file technology and storage
capability. Daily, we have enterprise customers asking for these
solutions - particularly where graphics are concerned. With SGI's
contribution and expertise in journaling, throughput and data
integrity, we can meet the file sharing/storage needs of those
customers with the best technology available. That SGI would make
this contribution to the open source community says a lot about
their vision and business acumen."
License and Availability
SGI will begin to offer code later this summer and meet the license
guidelines set-forth by the Open Source Initiative.
SGI is a market leader in technical computing, offering the
world's most powerful servers, supercomputers and visual
workstations. SGI uniquely provides a broad range of
high-performance computing and advanced graphics solutions that
enable customers to understand and conquer their toughest computing
problems. Headquartered in Mountain View, Calif., with offices
worldwide, the company is located on the Web at www.sgi.com.
IRIX is a registered trademark, and SGI, the SGI logo
and XFS are trademarks, of Silicon Graphics, Inc. Linux is a
trademark of Linus Torvalds. Intel is a registered trademark of
Intel Corporation. UNIX is a registered trademark in the U.S. and
other countries, licensed exclusively through X/Open Company, Ltd.
All other trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their
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