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SubjectRe: pNFS rant (was Re: [PATCH 1/8] exofs: Kbuild, Headers and osd utils)
On Feb. 16, 2009, 17:50 +0200, James Bottomley <> wrote:
> On Mon, 2009-02-16 at 06:05 -0500, Jeff Garzik wrote:
>> Boaz Harrosh wrote:
>>> No can do. exofs is meant to be a reference implementation of a pNFS-objects
>>> file serving system. Have you read the spec of pNFS-objects layout? they define
>>> RAID 0, 1, 5, and 6. In pNFS the MDS is suppose to be able to write the data
>>> for its clients as NFS, so it needs to have all the infra structure and knowledge
>>> of an Client pNFS-object layout drive.
>> Yes, I have studied pNFS! I plan to add v4.1 and pNFS support to my NFS
>> server, once v4.0 support is working well.
>> pNFS The Theory: is wise and necessary: permit clients to directly
>> connect to data storage, rather than copying through the metadata
>> server(s). This is what every distributed filesystem is doing these
>> days -- direct to data server for bulk data read/write.
>> pNFS The Specification: is an utter piece of shit. I can only presume
>> some shady backroom deal in a smoke-filled room was the reason this saw
>> the light of day.
>> In a sane world, NFS clients would speak... NFS.
>> In the crazy world of pNFS, NFS clients are now forced to speak NFS,
>> SCSI, RAID, and any number of proprietary layout types. When will HTTP
>> be added to the list? :)
> Heh, it's one of the endearing faults of the storage industry that we
> never learn from our mistakes ... particularly in storage protocols.
> Actually, perhaps that's a mischaracterised: we never actually learn
> from our successes. For example, most popular storage protocols solve
> about 80% of the problem (NFSv2) get something bolted on to take that to
> 95% (locking) and rule for decades. We end up obsessing about the 5%
> and produce something that's like 10x the overhead to solve it.
> Customers, for some unfathomable reason, hate complexity (I suspect
> principally because it in some measure equals expense) so the 100%
> solution (which actually turns out to be a 95% one because the over
> engineered complexity adds another 5% of different problems that take
> years to find) tends to work its way into a niche and stay there ...
> eventually fading.
> If you're really lucky, the niche evolves into something sustainable.
> For example iSCSI: blew its early promise, pulled a bunch of unnecessary
> networking into the protocol and ended up too big to fit in disk
> firmware (thus destroying the ability to have a simple network tap to
> replace storage fabric). It's been slowly fading until Virtualisation
> came along. Now all the other solutions to getting storage into virtual
> machines are so horrible and arcane that iSCSI looks like a winner (if
> the alternative is Frankenstein's monster, Grendel's mother suddenly
> looks more attractive as a partner).
> So, trust the customer ... if it's so horrible it shouldn't have seen
> the light of day, the chances are that no-one will buy it anyway.

I completely agree with this sentence.
And no customer, whatsoever, that I've talked to about pNFS had
any reservations about supporting multiple layout types. On the


> James
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