Survey of Distributed File System Design Choices


March 3, 2022


Peter Macko, Jason Hennessey

ACM TOS Journal

Decades of research on distributed file systems and storage systems exists. New researchers and engineers have a lot of literature to study, but only a comparatively small number of high-level design choices are available when creating a distributed file system. And within each aspect of the system, typically several common approaches are used. So, rather than surveying distributed file systems, this article presents a survey of important design decisions and, within those decisions, the most commonly used options. It also presents a qualitative exploration of their tradeoffs. We include several relatively recent designs and their variations that illustrate other tradeoff choices in the design space, despite being underexplored. In doing so, we provide a primer on distributed file systems, and we also show areas that are overexplored and underexplored, in the hopes of inspiring new research.


The paper can be found at: