What is the WAFL File System?




Example: The WAFL File System

Disk I/O has a huge impact on system performance. As a result, file-system design and implementation command quite a lot of attention from system designers. Some file systems are general purpose, in that they can provide reasonable performance and functionality for a wide variety of file sizes, file types, and I/O loads. Others are optimized for specific tasks in an attempt to provide better performance in those areas than general-purpose file systems. The WAFL file system from Network Appliance is an example of this sort of optimization. WAFL, the ivrite-nin/wherc file layout, is a powerful, elegant file system optimized for random writes.

Ease of use is one of the guiding principles of WAFL, because it is designed to be used in an appliance. Its creators also designed it to include a new snapshot functionality that creates multiple read-only copies of the file system at different points in time, as we shall see. The file system is similar to the Berkeley Fast File System, with many modifications. It is block-based and uses inodes to describe files. Each inode contains 16 pointers to blocks (or indirect blocks) belonging to the file described by the inode. Each file system has a root inode. All of the metadata lives in files: all inodes are in one file, the free-block map in another, and the free-inode map in a third, as shown in Figure 11.16.

What is  the WAFL File System?

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Because these are standard files, the data blocks are not limited in location and can be placed anywhere. If a file system is expanded by addition of disks, the lengths of these metadata files are automatically expanded by the file system. Thus, a WAFL file system is a tree of blocks rooted by the root inode. To take a snapshot, WAFL creates a duplicate root inode.

Any file or metadata updates after that go to new blocks rather than overwriting their existing blocks. The new root inode points to metadata and data changed as a result of these writes. Meanwhile, the old root inode still points to the old blocks, which have not been updated. It therefore provides access to the file system just as it was at the instant the snapshot was made—and takes very little disk space to do so! In essence, the extra disk space occupied by a snapshot consists of just the blocks that have been modified since the snapshot was taken. An important change from more standard file systems is that the free-block map has more than one bit per block. It is a bitmap with a bit set for each snapshot that is using the block. When all snapshots that have been using the block are deleted, the bit map for that block is all zeros, and the block is free to be reused.

Used blocks are never overwritten, so writes are very fast, because a write can occur at the free block nearest the current head location. There are many other performance optimizations in WAFL as well. Many snapshots can exist simultaneously, so one can be taken each hour of the day and. each day of the month. A user with access to these snapshots can access files as they were at any of the times the snapshots were taken. The snapshot facility is also useful for backups, testing, versioning, and so on. WAFL's snapshot facility is very efficient in that it does not even require that copy-on-write copies of each data block be taken before the block is modified. Other file systems provide snapshots, but frequently with less efficiency. WAFL snapshots are depicted in Figure 11.17.

What is  the WAFL File System?

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Ans: RC 4000 The RC 4000 system, like the THE system, was notable primarily for its design concepts. It was designed for the Danish 4000 computer by Regnecentralen, particularly by Brinch-Hansen (Brinch-Hansen [1970], BrindvHansen [1973]). The objective was not to design a batch system, or a time-sharing system, or any other specific system. Rather, the goal was to create an operating-system nucleus, or kernel, on which a complete operating system could be built. Thus, the system structure was layered, and only the lower levels—comprising the kernel—were provided. The kernel supported a collection of concurrent processes. A round-robin CPU scheduler was used. Although processes could share memory, the primary communication and synchronization mechanism was the message system provided by the kernel. view more..
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Ans: THE The THE operating system (Dijkstra [1968], McKeag and Wilson [1976]) was designed at the Technische Hogeschool at Eindhoven in the Netherlands. It was a batch system running on a Dutch computer, the EL X8, with 32 KB of 27-bit words. The system was mainly noted for its clean design, particularly its layer structure, and its use of a set of concurrent processes employing semaphores for synchronization. Unlike the XDS-940 system, however, the set of processes in the THE system was static. view more..
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Ans: XDS-940 The XDS-940 operating system (Lichtenberger and Pirtle [1965]) was designed at the University of California at Berkeley. Like the Atlas system, it used paging for memory management. Unlike the Atlas system, it was a time-shared system. The paging was used only for relocation; it was not used for demand paging. The virtual memory of any user process was made up of 16-KB words, whereas the physical memory was made up of 64-KB words view more..
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Ans: Example: The WAFL File System Disk I/O has a huge impact on system performance. As a result, file-system design and implementation command quite a lot of attention from system designers. Some file systems are general purpose, in that they can provide reasonable performance and functionality for a wide variety of file sizes, file types, and I/O loads. Others are optimized for specific tasks in an attempt to provide better performance in those areas than general-purpose file systems. The WAFL file system from Network Appliance is an example of this sort of optimization. WAFL, the ivrite-nin/wherc file layout, is a powerful, elegant file system optimized for random writes. view more..
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Ans: The Security Problem In many applications, ensuring the security of the computer system is worth considerable effort. Large commercial systems containing payroll or other financial data are inviting targets to thieves. Systems that contain data pertaining to corporate operations may be of interest to unscrupulous competitors. Furthermore, loss of such data, whether by accident or fraud, can seriously impair the ability of the corporation to function. view more..
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Ans: Requirements of Multimedia Kernels As a result of the characteristics described in Section 20.1.2, multimedia applications often require levels of service from the operating system that differ from the requirements of traditional applications, such as word processors, compilers, and spreadsheets. Timing and rate requirements are perhaps the issues of foremost concern, as the playback of audio and video data demands that the data be delivered within a certain deadline and at a continuous, fixed rate. Traditional applications typically do not have such time and rate constraints. view more..
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Ans: CPU Scheduling We distinguished between soft real-time systems and hard real-time systems. Soft real-time systems simply give scheduling priority to critical processes. A soft real-time system ensures that a critical process will be given preference over a noncritical process but provides no guarantee as to when the critical process will be scheduled. A typical requirement of continuous media, however, is that data must be delivered to a client by a certain deadline; data that do not arrive by the deadline are unusable. Multimedia systems thus require hard real-time scheduling to ensure that a critical task will be serviced within a guaranteed period of time. Another scheduling issue concerns whether a scheduling algorithm uses static priority or dynamic priority—a distinction view more..
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Ans: MULTICS The MULTICS operating system (Corbato and Vyssotsky [1965], Organick [1972]) was designed at MIT as a natural extension of CTSS. CTSS and other early time-sharing systems were so successful that they created an immediate desire to proceed quickly to bigger and better systems. As larger computers became available, the designers of CTSS set out to create a time-sharing utility. Computing service would be provided like electrical power. Large computer systems would be connected by telephone wires to terminals in offices and homes throughout a city. The operating system would be a time-shared system running continuously with a vast file system of shared programs and data. view more..
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Ans: IBM OS/360 The longest line of operating-system development is undoubtedly that of IBM computers. The early IBM computers, such as the IBM 7090 and the IBM 7094, are prime examples of the development of common I/O subroutines, followed by development of a resident monitor, privileged instructions, memory protection, and simple batch processing. These systems were developed separately, often by each site independently. As a result, IBM was faced with many different computers, with different languages and different system software. view more..
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Ans: History In the mid-1980s, Microsoft and IBM cooperated to develop the OS/2 operating system, which was written in assembly language for single-processor Intel 80286 systems. In 1988, Microsoft decided to make a fresh start and to develop a "new technology" (or NT) portable operating system that supported both the OS/2 and POSIX application-programming interfaces (APIs). view more..
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