Chapter 17. Distributed File Systems

In the previous chapter, we discussed network construction and the low-level protocols needed for messages to be transferred between systems. Now we examine one use of this infrastructure. A distributed file system (DFS) is a distributed implementation of the classical time-sharing model of a file system, where multiple users share files and storage resources (Chapter 11). The purpose of a DFS is to support the same kind of sharing when the files are physically dispersed among the sites of a distributed system.

In this chapter, we describe how a DFS can be designed and implemented. First, we discuss common concepts on which DFSs are based. Then, we illustrate our concepts by examining one influential DFS—the Andrew file system (AFS).


As we noted in the preceding chapter, a distributed system is a collection of loosely coupled computers interconnected by a communication network. These computers can share physically dispersed files by using a distributed file system (DFS). In this chapter, we use the term ...

Get Operating System Concepts, Seventh Edition now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.