Parallel NFS in the Making

Arthur Cole

An interesting article on Enterprise Storage Forum describes the upcoming Parallel Network File System (pNFS) 4.1 aimed at boosting the performance of parallel storage systems in the age of multicore processors and server clusters.


Essentially what we'll be seeing is a standard parallel I/O format that allows for things like the multiple striping techniques found in RAID 0 systems. You'll be able to stripe a single file across numerous disk drives anywhere on a network. This will aid in statistical load balancing because files can be moved around without hampering their associated applications. It also removes many of the scalability issues that currently hamper NFS servers, allowing them to better compete with clustered file systems like Lustre and GPFS.


A number of vendors are looking to roll out pNFS within the coming year. Look for it in upcoming versions of NetApp's Data ONTAP OS, as well as new Linux-based clients and server systems from Panasas.

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