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September 29, 2010


Chuck Hollis

Chuck here ...

Sorry, screwed up the link to the PPT deck. Should be fixed now. Apologies to all ..

-- Chuck

Chuck Hollis

Chuck here again, sorry ...

I neglected to point out -- but a few of you picked up -- that the "layout" concept is not restricted to just file and block -- there is a clear architectural pathway for object-oriented models as well.

Having said that, maybe we're looking at an entirely new definition of "unified storage"?

-- Chuck

Alan Newman


I'm with SwiftTest. We attended the CIFS/SMB Plugfest last week coincident with SDC, and we would like to participate in future "Bakeathons". Many of the participants listed for the Bakeathon are our customers- including EMC in multiple locations.

We're focused on building test tools for unified storage systems. We currently support CIFS/SMBv1 & v2; NFSv2, v3 & v4; iSCSI & HTTP/Object Storage. We'll have NFSv4.1 and FCoE in the first half of 2011.

The industry is moving from product silos to unified storage, and our products replace testing silos with consistent testing practices across all protocols. I know unified storage is important to EMC, and we want to help. :-)

I'd appreciate the opportunity to share our product strategy with you.

Please let me know your availability over the next couple of weeks.


Alan Newman
VP Marketing

Sorin Faibish

I want to provide some additional technical background to the Bakeathon and pNFS maturity.
pNFS is a new NFS protocol that allow high parallelism in access multiple NFS servers in parallel with very high in and out scalability. The pNFS protocol is the first that introduces the notion of layout which is a map of the file's blocks location on the network file
system. There are 3 flavors of the pNFS protocol differentiated by the type of the layout and backend storage: file layout (RFC 5661), block layout (RFC 5663) and object layout (RFC 5664) corresponding accordingly to 3 types of backend storage; NFS file servers, LUNs
in storage arrays for block and object based storage (similar to Centera) for object layout.

The intention of the pNFS protocol is to unify different types of storage and cluster them in a single networked FS. This is the standard answer to a multitude of proprietary clustered FS that made users dependent on the
vendor/technology of choice: Lustre, GFS, PVFS, OFS, IBRIX, Polyserve and many others. pNFS will allow users to combine different storage technologies in a single distributed storage system and allow wider choices and lower prices for the IT departments.

This is an opportunity for EMC to showcase leadership and prove one more time that standards are crucial to EMC success. The Bakeathon is an interoperability engineering plugfest event that allows different vendors and users to validate the implementation of their NFSv4.1 and pNFS servers and clients. EMC has funded
CITI (Center for Information Technology Integration at University of Michigan - Ann Arbor) to develop pNFS block client for Linux for the last 5 years resulting in the inclusion of the pNFS block layout in Fedora 13. Peter Honeyman the manager of CITI will be attending
the event as well.

There are 3 such NFSv4 plugfests events each year. The event has increased importance for EMC this time around, as EMC was the first vendor to announce the official GA of the first commercial NFSv4.1/pNFS server (in Unified
Barossa.) EMC has the intention to become the permanent home of the Fall Bakeathon replacing SUN's previous sponsorship.

EMC has played a central role in pNFS arena as founding members and co-chairs of the SNIA ESF as well as members in the NFSv4 working group in IETF. EMC donated IP of MPFS to the IETF community and owns the block layout protocol RFC 5663.

Sorin Faibish

Forgot few points:
Although at this time there are only 3 types of layouts the pNFS protocol leaves door open to any additional new layout types and storage technologies to be added in the future. For example there are already patches that will allow pNFS support for Lustre.

Mike Riley

For a little more background on this topic, I'd suggest visiting Mike Eisler's blog. Mike co-chaired the working group for NFS4.1 and pNFS and has been editor of the spec along with Dave Noveck of NetApp. Here's an early article on what pNFS will buy you and, fortunately for me, included illustrations!


Also, Mike has some history of the spec as it weaved its way through the standards process:


Lot's of good info there in addition to what you have here.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Chuck Hollis

  • Chuck Hollis
    SVP, Oracle Converged Infrastructure Systems

    Chuck now works for Oracle, and is now deeply embroiled in IT infrastructure.

    Previously, he was with VMware for 2 years, and EMC for 18 years before that, most of them great.

    He enjoys speaking to customer and industry audiences about a variety of technology topics, and -- of course -- enjoys blogging.

    Chuck lives in Vero Beach, FL with his wife and four dogs when he's not traveling. In his spare time, Chuck is working on his second career as an aging rock musician.

    Warning: do not ever buy him a drink when there is a piano nearby.

    Note: these are my personal views, and aren't reviewed or approved by my employer.
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