File Server Scaling with Network-Attached Secure Disks

Appears in the Proceedings of the ACM International Conference on Measurement and Modeling of Computer Systems (Sigmetrics '97), Seattle, Washington, June 15-18, 1997.

Garth A. Gibson, David F. Nagle*, Khalil Amiri*, Fay W. Chang, Eugene M. Feinberg*, Howard Gobioff, Chen Lee, Berend Ozceri*, Erik Riedel*, David Rochberg, Jim Zelenka

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering*
School of Computer Science
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213


By providing direct data transfer between storage and client, network-attached storage devices have the potential to improve scalability for existing distributed file systems (by removing the server as a bottleneck) and bandwidth for new parallel and distributed file systems (through network striping and more efficient data paths). Together, these advantages influence a large enough fraction of the storage market to make commodity network-attached storage feasible. Realizing the technology's full potential requires careful consideration across a wide range of file system, networking and security issues. This paper contrasts two network-attached storage architectures-(1) Networked SCSI disks (NetSCSI) are network-attached storage devices with minimal changes from the familiar SCSI interface, while (2) Network-Attached Secure Disks (NASD) are drives that support independent client access to drive object services. To estimate the potential performance benefits of these architectures, we develop an analytic model and perform trace-driven replay experiments based on AFS and NFS traces. Our results suggest that NetSCSI can reduce file server load during a burst of NFS or AFS activity by about 30%. With the NASD architecture, server load (during burst activity) can be reduced by a factor of up to five for AFS and up to ten for NFS.

FULL PAPER: pdf / postscript




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