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Primary Data Contributions Drive Standardization of NFS 4.2

Open Standards Parallel NFS (pNFS) and Flex File Contributions Deliver Native Support for Data Virtualization, Cross-Platform Data Management and Data Mobility in DataSphere Platform

  • NFS 4.2 Flex File standards provide protocol support for clustered server deployments, enabling scalable parallel access to files distributed among multiple servers
  • Primary Data’s Flex File contribution provides native support for a global dataspace, data mobility and management across different storage types – including file, block and object storage ­– to meet performance, cost and protection Objectives
  • The NFS 4.2 open standards contributions are integrated into the Linux kernel; new release of RHEL 7.3 includes support for Flex Files drivers

/EIN News/ -- LOS ALTOS, Calif., Dec. 07, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Primary Data today announced that its open standards Parallel NFS (pNFS) contributions developed to seamlessly orchestrate data across different types of storage have been accepted into the NFS 4.2 standard. With NFS 4.2, clients and application servers now natively support data virtualization and mobility with Primary Data’s DataSphere software platform to meet evolving data performance, cost and protection requirements.  Built from Primary Data’s previous NFS contributions, these open standards have been integrated into the Linux operating system kernel by Primary Data Principal System Architect and Linux NFS client maintainer Trond Myklebust.

“Simplifying the biggest challenges in storage today – scaling intelligently to support unprecedented growth within limited budgets – is a movement that extends beyond Primary Data into the global open standards community,” said Lance Smith, Primary Data chief executive officer. “We’re proud to contribute the data virtualization architecture achievements featured in DataSphere as open standards through our NFS engineering team including Trond Myklebust, Tom Haynes and Andros Adamson. By working together, visionaries throughout our industry can contribute to developing open standards that make storage smarter for enterprises around the globe.”

Primary Data’s contributions to NFS 4.2 include enhancements to the Parallel Network File System (pNFS) Flex File layout to allow clients to provide statistics on how data is being used, and the performance provided by the storage resources serving the data. These advanced features are already being implemented in the industry, as the most recent release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.3, the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform, features Flex Files support to simplify management of Parallel NFS (pNFS) clusters.

With these NFS contributions, data can be virtualized to become truly mobile across different types of storage. Service Level Objectives can be created to ensure that evolving data needs can be automatically matched with different storage resources as business needs change. Additional enhancements in NFS 4.2 include the following:

  • Server-Side Clone and Copy enables cloning and snapshots of files by the storage server
  • Application Input/Output (I/O) allows applications to inform the storage server of expected I/O behavior
  • Sparse Files allows files to be space efficient and use placeholders rather than zeros to improve storage efficiency
  • Space Reservation allows storage servers to reserve space without writing data in order to protect against unexpectedly running out of capacity
  • Application Data Block (ADB) enables block on file storage management implementations
  • Labeled NFS enhances security by enabling clients to enforce data access rights
  • Layout Enhancements deliver significant improvements to pNFS capabilities, supporting data mobility and I/O stats per file

“As the world’s most popular open source enterprise operating system was even recently embraced by Microsoft, Primary Data is excited to be advancing NFS 4.2 as a new open standard, and integrating these enhancements into the Linux kernel,” said Myklebust. “These contributions deliver support for advanced data management across different storage types, helping to ensure Linux continues to evolve as the most powerful, feature-rich OS available thanks to the work of the global community.”

The DataSphere software platform maximizes enterprise storage performance and efficiency by ensuring the right data is in the right place at the right time. It is the first storage-agnostic software platform to virtualize data across a global dataspace spanning flash, shared and cloud storage across file, block and object protocols. A powerful policy engine automatically places data on the storage that best meets IT-defined Objectives for performance, cost and protection to meet evolving business needs without any application disruption. DataSphere provides native support for the NFS 4.2 standard, simplifying adoption of data virtualization while also enabling easy interoperability with third-party solutions.

Detailed documentation on Primary Data’s contributions and the enhancements to NFS 4.2 approved by the Internet Engineering Task Force can be reviewed at:

About Primary Data
Primary Data transforms datacenter architectures by orchestrating the right data to the right place at the right time. Through data virtualization, the Primary Data DataSphere platform creates a global dataspace across direct-attached, network-attached, private and public cloud storage to deliver unprecedented manageability, performance, and efficiency. The storage-agnostic DataSphere platform features an intelligent Objective engine that automatically moves data across file, block, and object storage to meet evolving application requirements in real time. Visit us at or follow us on Twitter at @Primary_Data.

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