Distributed filesystem for high-speed networks

Michael Psarros

Diploma Thesis Winter 1998-99
Supervisors: F. Rauch, Prof. T. Stricker
Institute for Computer Systems, ETH Zürich


In recent years, network performance has closed in on the memory bandwidth of computers. Unfortunately, hard disk performance improvements in the areas of bandwidth and latency have not matched those of networks. Several hard disks must be accessed simultaneously to achieve a high speed network's throughput and thus to be attractive for clusters of workstations.

The goal of this thesis, was to investigate the potential of a RAID (Redundant Arrays of Inexpensive Disks) System for a Cluster of PCs (CoPs). As a communication medium, Myrinet was used. Myrinet Network Adapters feature their own RISC-Processors which lessen the workload of the main processor, thereby having great potential for use in a workstation cluster.


This thesis firstly examined the enviroment of a workstation cluster. A distributed file system was designed based on the characteristics of a workstation cluster and a prototype was then implemented. In the second phase of the thesis, the performance of the prototype was measured, primarily for its scalability.

It has been determined that the throughput does not scale as expected. The problem is that there exist pending requests for the driver, but Linux is not prepared to parallelize them easily. Intervention in the Linux-datastructures is necessary to increase throughput. A future thesis can examine this problem more closely.

The author can be reached at mpsarros@vis.ethz.ch.

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ETH Zürich: Department of Computer Science
Comments to Felix Rauch <rauch@inf.ethz.ch>
Date: 8. March 1999