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Global File System

Global File System

(also GFS)

Global File System definition

A global file system (“GFS” for short) is a distributed file system that provides a unified storage space for multiple computers in a network, regardless of their geographical locations. Global file systems enable seamless collaboration between users, fast data sharing, and concurrent access to files across diverse systems.

See also: high-performance file system, distributed file system, shared resources, shared storage, online data storage, storage area network server, peer-to-peer

How global file systems work

In a global file system, the storage infrastructure is distributed across multiple servers, forming a geographically dispersed network. By working together, the servers create a single logical file system that appears as a unified storage entity to anyone accessing it. This level of abstraction allows users to manage files as if they were stored locally.

To maintain data consistency across the whole system, GFS often uses distributed file locking mechanisms to manage concurrent access. This way, multiple processes can safely modify or read the stored files without conflict.

Because disruption to one server or node has the potential to create bottlenecks in the whole system, all global file systems incorporate robust data redundancy and fault tolerance mechanisms. These include data replication across multiple nodes and sophisticated error detection and correction tools.

Global file system uses

  • Multinational enterprises
  • International research initiatives
  • Distributed academic networks
  • International organizations with multiple bases
  • Cloud computing environments

Examples of global file systems

  • NFS (Network File System)
  • Ceph
  • GlusterFS
  • Amazon Elastic File System (EFS)

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