USENIX Tenth System Administration Conference (LISA
A Simple Caching File System for Application Serving
John D. Bell
Ford Motor Co.
In large installations, it can become very difficult to
install many hundreds of applications on every workstation. To make
every package available requires that the users' command search
path be very long, or that there be `wrapper' scripts written for
every application which are maintained in a single directory. This
policy also requires that each workstation have enough local disk
to contain all files for every application. One traditional
solution is to make applications available to workstations by
serving them via NFS. However, this method can cause severe
network loads, and it makes every user dependent upon the
uninterrupted operation of the network.
This paper describes a set of programs designed to eliminate
these problems. They provide for the automatic configuration of
the wrappers needed for each application (including setting
environment variables, etc.), in an architecture-independent
fashion. They also implement caching from NFS-mounted ``lockers''
to a local file system, based upon file access patterns. This gives
the advantages of single point of installation and minimization of
local disk requirements, while providing the user with reduced
dependence upon the network and increased speed of access. These
programs require no kernel modifications nor other special
facilities, and have proven to be portable across many versions of
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