Data ONTAP GX: A Scalable Storage Cluster


February 18, 2007


Michael Eisler, Peter Corbett, Michael Kazar, Daniel S. Nydick, and J. Christopher Wagner.

This paper presents Data ONTAP GX, a clustered Network Attached File server that is composed of a number of cooperating filers. 

Data ONTAP GX is a clustered Network Attached File server composed of a number of cooperating filers. Each filer manages its own local file system, which consists of a number of disconnected flexible volumes. A separate namespace infrastructure runs within the cluster, which connects the volumes into one or more namespaces by means of internal junctions. The cluster collectively exposes a potentially large number of separate virtual servers, each with its own independent namespace, security and administrative domain. The cluster implements a protocol routing and translation layer which translates requests in all incoming file protocols into a single unified internal file access protocol called SpinNP. The translated requests are then forwarded to the correct filer within the cluster for servicing by the local file system instance. This provides data location transparency, which is used to support transparent data migration, load balancing, mirroring for load sharing and data protection, and fault tolerance. The cluster itself greatly simplifies the administration of a large number of filers by consolidating them into a single system image. Results from benchmarks (over one million file operations per second on a 24 node cluster) and customer experience demonstrate linear scaling.

In Proceedings of the USENIX Conference on File and Storage Technologies 2007 (FAST ’07)


A copy of the paper is attached to this posting. GX-fast2007.pdf