XFS: SGI's extended file system goes open source

XFS will be fundamental in transforming Linux into a serious server at the enterprise level. As a fileserver, Linux currently performs poorly: ext2 yields only mediocre transaction times; file system recovery and repair is awesomely slow; failure tolerance is almost non-existent; and the architecture allows for a maximum file size of a mere 2GB.

The proven technology of XFS under IRIX, combined with SGI's background in the high-end computing market and commitment to open source development, should work to overcome these restraints and remove many of the criticisms that Linux cannot perform at the enterprise level. As SGI itself puts it: "SGI plans to help Linux mature into a world-class, robust, reliable, feature-rich, widely used, and enterprise-ready operating system." (http://oss.sgi.com/projects/xfs/papers/xfs_GPL.pdf)This intention indicates that SGI's support of the Linux open source movement will not stop with this single file system, but rather that it will bring other applications, technical expertise and experience to Linux development and the community at large.

Moreover, XFS running under Linux will mean that enterprise-level file servers currently using XFS will have no problem moving into a Linux environment, where the other features of Linux can also be enjoyed. XFS will complement the scalability found elsewhere in Linux. Most large file systems currently in use within the industry stand at around 1TB; XFS can work with a file system millions of times this size. With disk sizes increasing exponentially year by year, such a file system will differentiate Linux from the rest.

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Gavin Sherry

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