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NFS Version 4.1 update: pNFS spec approved

NFS Version 4.1 (NFSv4.1) is on the horizon -- again. It has been years of predictions and promises for data storage managers, but NFS Version 4.1, which supports parallel NFS, is getting closer

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to shipping in NAS systems now that the pNFS spec has been approved.

What's next for NFSv4.1? How can pNFS benefit data storage administrators? Will pNFS be worth the wait? Find answers to these and other questions in this SearchStorage.com three-part tutorial on NFS Version 4.1.

pNFS spec for faster file service arrives, but NAS systems lack capable clients
The Network File System (NFS) Version 4 Minor Revision 1 Protocol published this year included the long-awaited pNFS spec. EMC Corp., NetApp Inc. and Panasas Inc. all developed the technology used for pNFS and each is predicting that pNFS will provide a new way of accessing file data. Learn more about better performance and easier management when delivering large files by using the NFS Version 4.1 protocol with pNFS technology.

pNFS and NFSv4.1 adoption still on hold with most storage array vendors
The race is on among Linux kernel developers tasked with delivering a stable client for pNFS products. EMC's director of unified storage, Brad Bunce, is forecasting that the Fedora Project, Red Hat Enterprise and the CentOS Project will finish in that order. But while benefits will include file server management improvements, as well as increased scalability and performance, storage array vendors have been slow to adopt the pNFS spec and the NFSv4.1 protocol.

NFS alternative meets Los Alamos National Laboratory's high-performance computing needs
The Los Alamos Labs is hoping pNFS can offer the scalability not found in NFS, but until then, their high-performance computing (HPC) team is getting creative. Los Alamos labs is using a mix of products -- Panasas Inc.'s DirectFlow parallel client technology combined with Oracle Corp.'s Lustre parallel file system and IBM's General Parallel File System (GPFS) -- to provide pNFS capability. Learn more about the labs' use of the alternative to NFS while testing the pNFS spec for its high-performance computing needs.

This was first published in June 2010