Large FOSS filesystems, was Re: [Beowulf] 512 nodes Myrinet cluster Challanges

Dan Stromberg strombrg at
Fri May 5 11:00:26 PDT 2006

On Thu, 2006-05-04 at 12:16 -0600, Craig Tierney wrote:
> Dan Stromberg wrote:
> >> Ooops, sorry, english is not my native language and I can make
> >> mistakes :-) I liked pvfs before and I love pvfs2 now. 
> >>
> >> Well, I think the problems are those you are mentioning, first it 
> >> goes a bit slower than let's say nfs or something like gfs over gnbd
> >> (for small clusters)... in any case it is not so slow. The other
> >> is that you need the nodes that are metadata or I/O  servers have
> >> to be up, that means that the probability of file system failure is higher.
> >>
> >> The adventages are many, parallel I/O is a plus, not only for mpi programs
> >> but also for the normal tasks, if you  try to convert the format of a lot 
> >> of images you can split the work between nodes, but this is an adventage 
> >> only if your file system can handle that, which is not the case of nfs 
> >> obviously.
> >>
> >> In other words, pvfs2 is free, great and useful. it works well  as a 
> >> scratch area and it uses resources that otherwise are not visible
> >> for the user. And for myrinet users it goes over gm which is nice.
> > 
> > On a somewhat related note, are there any FOSS filesystems that can
> > surpass 16 terabytes in a single filesystem - reliably?
> What do you want to do with your 16 TB?  Does PVFS2 not meet your needs 
> or your level of reliability? What don't you find reliable about it?

We want to store scientific datasets - and we actually wanted more like
30T, but had to settle for less.

> I expect that xfs would work just fine.  The question is, how can you 
> access it?  You can export it with NFS, but the performance doesn't scale.

If it'd be at least semi reliable, this application would probably be
fine with that.

> Why FOSS (not to start a flame war)?  What if AcmeFS was reasonably 
> priced and did what you needed it to do?

We already have a commercial solution that's working pretty well, so if
we go commercial, we might return to that.  FOSS tends to improve faster
though, and if you get it with a support contract, it seems pretty

More information about the Beowulf mailing list