There has been an increase in web traffic regarding the NFSv4.1 open standard being driven at the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force). Few can argue the commercial success of the 2 dominant file sharing protocols today:
The above block diagrams shows NFS topology and CIFS message flow respectively. This type of information is readily available for both NFS and CIFS with plenty of detail. However Sun’s NFS source code is readily available. Sun is the inventor of the NFS protocol and it is an open standard driven by IETF.
The NFS implementation by Sun is open sourced today. Sun’s implementation of pNFS (NFSv4.1 protocol) is currently an OpenSolaris project. Sun is a full participant in this effort along with other members who are doing their own implementation of the NFSv4.1 standard as well. Check out this interactive demo which explains the parallel or shared nature of serving data to clients. What is interesting is that other IETF members are deciding to open source some of their code as well! Why not open source all of it? Open source continues to gain traction. Approximately 8 million downloads (the pink dots) of Solaris 10 is an indicator.
pNFS will be used by vendors to build solutions for areas such as High Performance Technical Computing. Sun’s offering will build solutions using ZFS and pNFS. Sun provides HPC solutions today using QFS. QFS does have a parallel serving capability known as shared-QFS. It also can function with Storage Archival Management (SAM) software.
There certainly is a leader with open source software. Technologies in Solaris will continue to be developed and (yes) open sourced as well. How can you be open but not provide the source code to the community?
That sounds proprietary…
The common thread that pNFS, NFS, and QFS share is that they are part of Solaris and that implies free access to source code AND open. Stay tuned.