by Peter Galli on April 22, 2009 01:37pm
Microsoft is sponsoring research at the University of Michigan’s Center for Information Technology Integration (CITI) to develop an open source Network File System client for Windows. This will enable Windows to better interoperate with this emerging Internet storage protocol for fast file sharing.
NFS is a commonly used protocol for sharing files among networked computers and storage hardware, particularly with UNIX and Linux-based software. NFSv4 is the latest version of this software and adds support for parallel access to file servers, object-storage, and storage area network infrastructures.
Bob Muglia, the president of Microsoft’s Server and Tools Business and a University of Michigan alumnus, expressed excitement about the project, saying that NFSv4.1 is an important standard for accessing parallel file systems in the high-performance computing market, where access to vast amounts of data is critical in areas like scientific or technical computing systems.
"We believe that customers want to be able to choose the technologies that best meet their needs and that also interoperate with existing systems. Ultimately, CITI’s work will help change the way customers can combine their systems by enabling computers running Windows to directly and easily access NFS file shares on servers running Linux, Solaris, and AIX operating systems."
CITI, which is a research unit in the College of Engineering, developed the open source Linux-based reference implementation of NFSv4 that is already included in all Linux distributions. However, Peter Honeyman, a research professor in the division of Computer Science and Engineering and principal investigator of this project, notes that Windows is a critical component in the University’s research cyber-infrastructure, responsible for the control of instruments in laboratories across the university, in medicine, engineering, geosciences, bioinformatics, and many other disciplines.
"So this project is especially important in helping university scientists and engineers fill a gap in the storage fabric. This partnership also shows how the university can serve as a living laboratory for the development of interoperable enterprise scale systems that meet the needs of industry and academia," he said.