OpenAFS logo

May 24-28, 2010

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign logo

Wednesday 26 May 9:00am

Location: 1320 Digital Computer Lab

Speaker: Phillip Moore (

Title: Global Filesystems in the Real World: Comparing experiences with AFS and NFS


Distributed filesystems are notoriously difficult to scale in large enterprises with any degree of security, reliability, or acceptable WAN performance. Products like OpenAFS were designed to scale in this manner, and there are several examples of successful global implementations in production today. Using a distributed filesystem to deploy software in a heterogeneous environment is an even more difficult challenge.

The author implemented one such system in the 1990s at a major investment firm, and that success story is widely known in the OpenAFS community. For the past four years, the author has led an effort to implement a similar infrastructure at another major bank, but based on NFSv3 and a variety of proprietary hardware products in the NFS space.

This presentation will compare the experiences of designing and implementing a global distributed filesystem infrastructure in a large enterprise using two very different products. A comparison of the problems faced, the possible solutions, and both the successes and failures of each system will be covered.

In addition, we will introduce a new open source product, EFS (Enterprise FileSystem) which is an implementation of the management software which is the central component of both these infrastructures. While currently only supporting NFSv3, there are plans to add support for both NFSv4 and OpenAFS as backend filesystems.

The goal of the EFS project is to make secure, reliable, performant global software distribution and change control available to anyone, at virtually any scale.


Phillip Moore is a veteran UNIX architect with over two decades of experience deploying mission critical infrastructure in global production environments. After completing his M.S. in Physics at The Ohio State University, Phil spent several years working at Matsushita Electric Works in Osaka, Japan, where he discovered his talent for systems and network administration. From there, he went to Morgan Stanley, where he was one of the key architects of the Aurora UNIX infrastructure, based on a global filesystem using AFS. Phil designed and implemented "VMS", the AFS namespace management software which is the distribution and change control mechanism for all applications and infrastructure software in the Aurora environment.

For the past four years, Phil has been implementing a similar infrastructure based on NFSv3 at another major bank. That effort has produced an open source implementation of VMS, known as "EFS", which is approaching the first public production release.

An Emeritus member of the OpenAFS Advisory Council, Phil was a key contributor to the OpenAFS product, and was responsible for what is widely considered the largest production deployment of OpenAFS in the world. Phil is a strong advocate for Open Source software.