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Second Workshop on Real, Large Distributed Systems—Preliminary Abstract

Pp. 49–54 of the Proceedings

Bridging Local and Wide Area Networks for Overlay Distributed File Systems

Mike Closson and Paul Lu, University of Alberta


In metacomputing and grid computing, a computational job may execute on a node that is geographically far away from its data files. In such a situation, some of the issues to be resolved are: First, how can the job access its data? Second, how can the high latency and low bandwidth bottlenecks of typicalwide-area networks (WANs) be tolerated? Third, how can the deployment of distributed file systems be made easier?

The Trellis Network File System (Trellis NFS) uses a simple, global namespace to provide basic remote data access. Data from any node accessible by Secure Copy can be opened like a file. Aggressive caching strategies for file data and metadata can greatly improve performance across WANs. And, by using a bridging strategy between the well-knownNetwork File System(NFS) and wide-area protocols, the deployment is greatly simplified. As part of the Third Canadian Internetworked Scientific Supercomputer (CISS-3) experiment, Trellis NFS was used as a distributed file system between highperformance computing (HPC) sites across Canada.

CISS-3 ramped up over several months, ran in production mode for over 48 hours, and at its peak, had over 4,000 jobs running concurrently. Typically, there were about 180 concurrent jobs using Trellis NFS. We discuss the functionality, scalability, and benchmarked performance of Trellis NFS. Our hands-on experience with CISS and Trellis NFS has reinforced our design philosophy of layering, overlaying, and bridging systems to provide new functionality.

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Last changed: 13 Dec. 2005 jel
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