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A comparison of two network-based file servers

By James G. Mitchell, Jeremy Dion

Communications of the ACM, Vol. 25 No. 4, Pages 233-245

This paper compares two working network-based file servers, the Xerox Distributed File System (XDFS) implemented at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, and the Cambridge File Server (CFS) implemented at the Cambridge University Computer Laboratory. Both servers support concurrent random access to files using atomic transactions, both are connected to local area networks, and both have been in service long enough to enable us to draw lessons from them for future file servers. We compare the servers in terms of design goals, implementation issues, performance, and their relative successes and failures, and discuss what we would do differently next time.

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