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by Gordon Ross
FUSE (File-system in User Space) traditionally uses a very "thin" kernel module that communicates using a message passing interface to a user-level process that does all the interesting work. That approach forces a large number of very fine-grained requests for each high level file-system requests. An alternative to the traditional FUSE design is presented, where the kernel file-system module can do meta-data caching and some aggregation of requests, allowing the rendez-vous with the user-level helper process to be less frequent and more efficient. This allows the elimination of a significant portion of the work normally done by the user-level FUSE library. Also new in this approach is the use of illumos "door calls" (an efficient inter-process communication mechanism inherited from OpenSolaris) for communications between the in-kernel file-system module and the user-level FUSE service program. Experimental results from a prototype of this design are compared with the more traditional implementation, demonstrating some advantages of the new approach.
SmartOS is an open source distribution of illumos, currently in production for Joyent's public cloud, where it provides a hypervisor that is secure, flexible and observable. It leverages technologies such as ZFS snapshots and clones for rapid provisioning, KVM and Zones for hardware and OS virtualization, and DTrace to safely understand what's going on inside of guests and the hypervisor. This talk will describe these technologies and their use, including engineering challenges encountered, and discuss opportunities for observing guests such as Linux and Windows.
20th–22nd January 2012