On the Performance and Scalability of NFS over a Myrinet-based Network of Workstations

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T. Olivares
L. Orozco-Barbosa
P. J. Garcia
F. Quiles
A. Garrido


The development of high performance networks and multimedia applications has spurred the need of developing more efficient distributed file systems. In the past, distributed file systems, such as NFS (Network File System), have been developed aiming to provide transparent remote access to shared file systems across computer platforms. Even though, NFS has been widely studied and new releases are being developed, there are still some open issues regarding its performance and scalability.

In this work we explore the operation and performance of NFS when used to support parallel data intensive-processing applications over a cluster of workstations interconnected by a 1-Gbps network. We first consider a parallel implementation of a video compression software encoder. The application is characterized by the large amount of data to be distributed to the processing workstations. Through an exhaustive campaign of experiments, we evaluate the impact of several system key parameters over the performance and scalability of NFS. We then explore the operation of NFS using a synthetic load pattern. Our main results provide the guidelines to set-up some of the key parameters for a more efficient operation of NFS over a cluster of workstations interconnected by a high-speed interconnection network.

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