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Scale-out File System Evaluation Guide

Last updated June 18th, 2019 for minor corrections. Scale-out File System Evaluation Guide provides an overview and critical characteristics for a Scale-out File System. Download this free 11-page Evaluation Guide now!

Evaluation Guide Overview

Evaluator Group’s Scale-out File System Evaluation Guide is part of a series of guides designed to help IT professionals evaluate storage technology alternatives. This Evaluation Guide and the accompanying workbook are designed to assist potential buyers understand the options and products available and to help match requirements to the available technology choices.

What sets Evaluator Group’s Evaluation Guide series apart from vendor-sponsored whitepapers is the lack of vendor bias. Our Evaluation Guides are not sponsored by vendors and are written for IT managers seeking a vendor neutral discussion of the design considerations behind new products, technologies, and trends.

What are Scale-out File Systems

Scale-out File Systems or SoFS for short are large-scale file serving implementations in software. Distinguishing Scale-out File Systems from standard Network Attached Storage (NAS) is the large scale in the number of nodes supported, the amount of capacity, the number of files, and the degree of parallel transfers of data that can be in progress. Scale-out File Systems implementation are NAS but with those different characteristics. In general, the number of nodes is over a thousand, the capacity is practically unlimited, and the number of files is in the billions. The number of parallel operations possible is usually relative to the number of nodes.

Scale-out File Systems have a history of being offered as software for custom implementations by specialists in some high-performance computing (HPC) environments. In addition to being offered as software, most Scale-out File Systems have complete integrations offered by vendors as well. The usage in HPC has dictated many of the characteristics of Scale-out File Systems and also the inherent complexity, targeting usage in extreme cases with very competent engineers and scientists deploying and supporting the systems. New usages of Scale-out File Systems in analytics areas for artificial intelligence with machine learning and deep learning has broadened the interest in Scale-out File Systems taking advantage of the parallelism for data transfer. This has led to new file systems from vendors not previously in the market.

This evaluation guide will explain the characteristics and the methods being applied to help understand the products and usages. It is important to have a base understanding of file serving with NAS to make sense of the technologies that are being applied.

The Evaluator Group Evaluation Guide for NAS should be used to get a background understanding of NAS used in IT environments.

Scale-out File System Evaluation Guide includes: 

  • Evaluation Guide Overview
  • What are Scale-out File Systems
  • Scale-out File System Functionality
  • Characteristics of a Scale-out File System
  • Usages
  • Evaluation Questions
  • Evaluator Group EvaluScale Requirements
  • Summary

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