What is a Clustered File System ?
A clustered file system leverages multiple physical storage servers that mount the file system simultaneously in order to let it be accessed and managed as one logical system. Clustered file systems share storage capacity, which could otherwise be underutilized on networks if deployed separately.
There are different features offered by clustered file systems, including location independent addressing and redundancy, which in turn augment reliability.
Parallel File System: It is a clustered file system that distributes data across multiple storage nodes in terms of redundancy and performance.
Disk File System : It uses a Storage Area Network (SAN) to provide a way for hosts to share Fibre Channel Storage, which is traditionally carved up into private chunks linked to different hosts. In a SAN file system, storage is mounted only in one node, but the storage unit is linked to multiple nodes, and the block addresses are distributed.
A file system manages the retrieval of data between an operating system and a storage server. Clustered file systems, on the other hand, have the advantage that data storage and data access can be organized across all servers, so they can work together to handle a demanding workload and enable users to access the same files and data at the same time.
How a Windows or Linux clustered file system works?
The file system coordinates data storage and retrieval between the operating system (OS) and the storage subsystem. For example, Windows computers will typically implement NTFS or FAT on their local hard drives, whereas Linux systems support ext2, ext3, ext4, XFS, JFS, and others.
It may be necessary to organize data storage and access across all of the nodes in a cluster by using a Windows clustered file system or a Linux clustered file system.
Clustered file systems are required depending on the cluster configuration. Most clusters simply provide redundancy. If a node in the cluster fails, another server takes over and keeps the workload available. In this configuration, the servers operate independently, so clustering the file system is usually unnecessary.
The clustered file system controls the access to the shared storage resource (such as SAN), preventing more than one node from writing data at the same time — called a “write collision.” The actual storage is not important, and clustered file systems can support block-level storage, including SCSI, iSCSI, ATA over Ethernet, Fibre Channel, and Fibre Channel over Ethernet.
Clustered file systems handle simultaneous file access to nodes, as well as node failures that are likely to affect disk consistency. When a node writes bad data or stops sending its changes, it must be isolated from the others.
A Windows clustered file system can typically isolate a defective node logically, whereas Linux clustered file systems will use utilities such as STONITH — which stands for “Shoot The Other Node In The Head” — to actually shut down the questionable node.
Benefits of a Clustered File System :-
Additionally, a business can make effective use of resources. The clustered file system can create the desired configuration by distributing projects and data across different nodes. The benefit of this is that it allows companies to reduce their resource utilization overhead and be more flexible with their resources.
Performance increases, scalability improves, and data management is simplified. Performance is improved because multiple servers can handle more processing power. Systems like these are very scalable, so resources can be added as needed. It reduces the management burden on large systems and systems that are growing in size as a result of clustering.
The system can be maintained on each node individually, ensuring that all users have access to the data that they need while the necessary maintenance is being performed.
Clustered file systems are a viable alternative for businesses looking for the right solution.
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