“100 Million Files Should Not be a Problem for ProStor Systems’ InfiniVault”; Part 2 of 2

In part 1 of this two-part blog series, I took a look at how ProStor Systems’ InfiniVault file system addresses its infinite capacity characteristic and manages and recalls files that are on disk cartridges external to InfiniVault. In this second and final installment, I discuss how ProStor Systems’ InfiniVault manages an infinite number of files with its file system and why, for most users, the need for it to manage an infinite number of files will never become a concern.

One of the major benefits of ProStor Systems’ InfiniVault is that unlike other disk based architectures it supports infinite capacity through the use of RDX removable cartridges. However InfiniVault presents itself as a network filer to server operating systems and uses a write-once file system so InfiniVault needs to theoretically manage an infinite number of files due to its infinite capacity capabilities. To explain how InfiniVault does this, both ProStor Systems’ CEO, Steve Georgis, and CTO, Randy Kerns, explained why the number of files in most customer environments rarely becomes a compelling issue.

Georgis says that ProStor Systems guarantees it will support 20 million files at the bare-minimum specification. While 100 million files should not be a problem, ProStor has not yet tested InfiniVault to verify it can reach that number.

One variable as to how large the file system can grow and how many files it can manage is not the number of files but the path name to the file. The InfiniVault’s file system database needs to include the path name to the file among the file metadata it manages. Long file path names increase the size of the InfiniVault database which decreases the number of files InfiniVault’s database can theoretically manage, though administrators can tune the amount of disk reserved for InfiniVault’s database in these circumstances.

Prostor’s Kerns believes that most InfiniVault users will never test its file system limitations – theoretical or practical – since most companies rely on applications external to InfiniVault to manage backup jobs or email and file archives. Archiving, data protection or enterprise content management (ECM) software typically ‘containerize’ backup jobs, emails or files when they archive them.

This container is stored as one large file on InfiniVault’s file system. Storing all this data, emails or files as one large file negates many of the questions and concerns about the need for InfiniVault’s file system to manage an infinite number of files for long periods of time since the responsibility falls to third party applications. In those rare circumstances where clients do not have this more sophisticated archiving or backup software, Kerns says, “ProStor sizes the system to meet their needs so users don’t need any upgrades for at least five years.”

ProStor Systems’ InfiniVault avoids the potentially thorny problem of managing infinite numbers of files by relying on third party applications that are already adept at managing this task. By relying on third party applications to create and manage containers, it absolves InfiniVault of concerns about concerns of creating an infinite number of files and primarily leaves it with the task of managing what data is stored on what disk cartridge.

This blog entry is the second in a two-part series that looks at how ProStor Systems InfiniVault uses a file system that supports a theoretically infinite number of files to manage infinite capacity. If you have any questions, you may contact ProStor Systems through its PR representative, Judy Smith, at judys@jprcom.com.

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