BatchFS: Scaling the File System Control Plane with Client-Funded Metadata Servers
Parallel file systems are often characterized by a layered architecture that decouples metadata management from I/O operations, allowing file systems to facilitate fast concurrent access to file contents. However, metadata intensive workloads are still likely to bottleneck at the file system control plane due to namespace synchronization, which taxes application performance through lock contention on directories, transaction serialization, and RPC overheads. In this paper, we propose a client-driven file system metadata architecture, BatchFS, that is optimized for noninteractive, or batch, workloads. To avoid metadata bottlenecks, BatchFS features a relaxed consistency model marked by lazy namespace synchronization and optimistic metadata verification. Capable of executing namespace operations on client-provisioned resources without contacting any metadata server, BatchFS clients are able to delay namespace synchronization until synchronization is really needed. Our goal in this vision paper is to handle these delayed operations securely and efficiently with metadata verification and bulk insertion. Preliminary experiments demonstrate that our client-funded metadata architecture outperforms a traditional synchronous file system by orders of magnitude.