PDL Abstract

Scale and Concurrency of GIGA+: File System Directories with Millions of Files

Proceedings of the 9th USENIX Conference on File and Storage Technologies (FAST '11), San Jose CA, February 2011.

Swapnil Patil, Garth A. Gibson

School of Computer Science
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

We examine the problem of scalable file system directories, motivated by data-intensive applications requiring millions to billions of small files to be ingested in a single directory at rates of hundreds of thousands of file creates every second. We introduce a POSIX-compliant scalable directory design, GIGA+, that distributes directory entries over a cluster of server nodes. For scalability, each server makes only local, independent decisions about migration for load balancing. GIGA+ uses two internal implementation tenets, asynchrony and eventual consistency, to: (1) partition an index among all servers without synchronization or serialization, and (2) gracefully tolerate stale index state at the clients. Applications, however, are provided traditional strong synchronous consistency semantics. We have built and demonstrated that the GIGA+ approach scales better than existing distributed directory implementations, delivers a sustained throughput of more than 98,000 file creates per second on a 32-server cluster, and balances load more efficiently than consistent hashing.