ConfD: Analyzing Configuration Dependencies of File Systems for Fun and Profit


Tabassum Mahmud, Om Rameshwar Gatla, Duo Zhang, Carson Love, Ryan Bumann, and Mai Zheng, Iowa State University


File systems play an essential role in modern society for managing precious data. To meet diverse needs, they often support many configuration parameters. Such flexibility comes at the price of additional complexity which can lead to subtle configuration-related issues. To address this challenge, we study the configuration-related issues of two major file systems (i.e., Ext4 and XFS) in depth, and identify a prevalent pattern called multilevel configuration dependencies. Based on the study, we build an extensible tool called ConfD to extract the dependencies automatically, and create six plugins to address different configuration-related issues. Our experiments on Ext4 and XFS show that ConfD can extract more than 150 configuration dependencies for the file systems with a low false positive rate. Moreover, the dependency-guided plugins can identify various configuration issues (e.g., mishandling of configurations, regression test failures induced by valid configurations).

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@inproceedings {285784,
author = {Tabassum Mahmud and Om Rameshwar Gatla and Duo Zhang and Carson Love and Ryan Bumann and Mai Zheng},
title = {{ConfD}: Analyzing Configuration Dependencies of File Systems for Fun and Profit},
booktitle = {21st USENIX Conference on File and Storage Technologies (FAST 23)},
year = {2023},
isbn = {978-1-939133-32-8},
address = {Santa Clara, CA},
pages = {199--214},
url = {},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = feb

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