Книга: Distributed operating systems

5.3.2. Scalability

5.3.2. Scalability

A definite trend in distributed systems is toward larger and larger systems. This observation has implications for distributed file system design. Algorithms that work well for systems with 100 machines may work poorly for systems with 1000 machines and not at all for systems with 10,000 machines. For starters, centralized algorithms do not scale well. If opening a file requires contacting a single centralized server to record the fact that the file is open, that server will eventually become a bottleneck as the system grows.

A general way to deal with this problem is to partition the system into smaller units and try to make each one relatively independent of the others. Having one server per unit scales much better than a single server. Even having the servers record all the opens may be acceptable under these circumstances.

Broadcasts are another problem area. If each machine issues one broadcast per second, with n machines, a total of n broadcasts per second appear on the network, generating a total of n2 interrupts total. Obviously, as n grows, this will eventually be a problem.Resources and algorithms should not be linear in the number of users, so having a server maintain a linear list of users for protection or other purposes is not a good idea. In contrast, hash tables are acceptable, since the access time is more or less constant, almost independent of the number of entries.

In general, strict semantics, such as UNIX semantics, get harder to implement as systems get bigger. Weaker guarantees are much easier to implement. Clearly, there is a trade-off here, since programmers prefer easily well-defined semantics, but these are precisely the ones that do not scale well.

In a very large system, the concept of a single UNIX-like file tree may have to be reexamined. It is inevitable that as the system grows, the length of path names will grow too, adding more overhead. At some point it may be necessary to partition the tree into smaller trees.

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