#150 – Myriad File Systems

#150 – Myriad File Systems

Chris EvansData Management, File Systems, Storage Unpacked Podcast

File systems provide structure and a way to store data on computer systems. From the early days of FAT and NTFS, we now see a proliferation of file systems in the enterprise. Why do we have so many and what benefits do they offer? In this episode, Chris and Martin look at the evolution of the file system and why solutions have been developed to meet specific application requirements.

Much of file system development has been driven from the improvement of hardware technology. Larger HDDs meant supporting more file system metadata and so the evolution of FAT16 & FAT32. ZFS provides caching and other logging techniques by using solid-state media for additional journaling and recovery. ZUFS exploits Storage Class Memory to implement very fast local file systems.

The conversation also discusses FUSE, an open-source feature of Linux that enables anyone to develop a file system in userspace. File systems typically run in the kernel and are difficult to develop as a result. A file system needs to be bulletproof, adding to the development challenge.

Elapsed Time: 00:30:54


  • 00:00:00 – Intros
  • 00:02:15 – What is a file system?
  • 00:05:10 – File systems give scalability & resiliency
  • 00:05:50 – Are parallel and clustered file systems different?
  • 00:07:17 – Why are there so many different file systems?
  • 00:08:35 – Even tapes can have file systems (like LTFS)
  • 00:11:00 – ZuFS exploits SCM for a host-based file system
  • 00:13:15 – What do file systems like GPFS offer?
  • 00:15:00 – What is POSIX, what is a POSIX file system?
  • 00:17:00 – Many file systems are proprietary to operating systems
  • 00:17:30 – Why are file systems hard to develop?
  • 00:18:45 – FUSE – File System in User Space
  • 00:20:40 – ChubaoFS – one of many new file systems
  • 00:22:00 – Many file systems are niche – like HFDS (Hadoop)
  • 00:23:30 – What about new file system features for the user?
  • 00:25:00 – File systems can offer APIs for management (like backup)
  • 00:25:45 – WAFL is not a file system – or is it?
  • 00:27:00 – What are the risks in using new (open source) file systems?
  • 00:28:45 – Should we be looking at using alternative file systems?
  • 00:30:00 – Wrap Up

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