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Indiana University to develop Lustre features

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OpenSFS, the Lustre community group in North America, is to fund Indiana University (IU) to develop features that will enhance the usability of the Lustre file system across wide area networks (WANs). OpenSFS is a non-profit technical organisation dedicated to the promotion and development of Lustre in HPC environments.

IU has been committed to Lustre since 2005 when the university began planning the Data Capacitor, a high-speed, high-capacity storage system for the short- to mid-term storage of large research data sets funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Since then, IU has pursued the use of Lustre as a wide area file system, deploying a production instance for scientific use in 2008. IU will be working with Lustre partner Whamcloud for testing and integration into the Lustre release tree. IU joined OpenSFS in November 2010, forming a Lustre WAN working group shortly thereafter.

'A key area of development in supercomputing systems is taking full advantage of wide area networks. IU is a clear leader in pushing Lustre WAN development, and we are excited to help support further progress in these areas,' said Norman Morse, CEO of OpenSFS. 'OpenSFS is deeply committed to the ongoing development of Lustre. We're pleased to fund the important work that IU is doing.'

IU has proposed adding two features to the current Lustre 2.X codebase. The first is an updated and enhanced version of IU's user ID (UID) mapping code, required for any type of wide area file system that spans heterogeneous namespaces to ensure that files have proper ownership and permissions across all clients.

The second is a new flexible security model based on shared keys that will interoperate with the security code currently built into Lustre and leverage security features already available in Linux. The new features will simplify cross-domain deployment and pave the way for general adoption of Lustre as a wide area file system.

'IU's Bandwidth Challenge win was a pivotal step towards establishing Lustre as a high performance wide area file system,' said Stephen Simms, manager of the High Performance File Systems group at IU. 'Updating the UID mapping code will allow us to continue empowering users of geographically distributed systems and enabling new workflows. In addition, adding a new security option will help break down barriers that currently stand in the way of a shared secure Lustre across different organisations.'

In September 2010, IU and Whamcloud began a partnership to further extend the capability of Lustre as a wide area file system. As part of this ongoing partnership, IU will work with Whamcloud to ensure that all new code is thoroughly tested and integrated into the Lustre release tree.

'Geographically dispersed storage is a fact of life in the supercomputing world, and tying it all together in a single namespace is a strength of Lustre that IU will help extend. This will be a real benefit to the community, and we're very excited to see OpenSFS put its full support behind IU,' said Brent Gorda, CEO of Whamcloud. 'This is another great example of the interesting development being done around Lustre these days. It's great news for all Lustre users.'