The Vesta Parallel File System

Peter F. Corbett*, Dror G. Feitelson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

131 Scopus citations


The Vesta parallel file system is designed to provide parallel file access to application programs running on multicomputers with parallel I/O subsystems. Vesta uses a new abstraction of files: a file is not a sequence of bytes, but rather it can be partitioned into multiple disjoint sequences that are accessed in parallel. The partitioning - which can also be changed dynamically - reduces the need for synchronization and coordination during the access. Some control over the layout of data is also provided, so the layout can be matched with the anticipated access patterns. The system is fully implemented and forms the basis for the AIX Parallel I/O File System on the IBM SP2. The implementation does not compromise scalability or parallelism. In fact, all data accesses are done directly to the I/O node that contains the requested data, without any indirection or access to shared metadata. Disk mapping and caching functions are confined to each I/O node, so there is no need to keep data coherent across nodes. Performance measurements show good scalability with increased resources. Moreover, different access patterns are shown to achieve similar performance.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)225-264
Number of pages40
JournalACM Transactions on Computer Systems
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1996


  • C.1.2 [Processor Architectures]: Multiple Data Stream Architectures - parallel processors
  • D.1.3 [Programming Techniques]: Concurrent Programming - parallel programming
  • D.4.1 [Operating Systems]: Process Management - concurrency


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