News Column

Patent Issued for Fast File Server Methods and System

July 22, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Information Technology Newsweekly -- From Alexandria, Virginia, VerticalNews journalists report that a patent by the inventors Westerhoff, Malte (Berlin, DE); Stalling, Detlev (Berlin, DE), filed on January 31, 2013, was published online on July 8, 2014.

The patent's assignee for patent number 8775510 is PME IP Australia Pty Ltd (Richmond, AU).

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The invention pertains to digital data processing and, more particularly, to methods and apparatus for accessing and/or delivering data in a client-server environment. The invention has application in improving file and data access over local area networks, the Internet, and other networks.

"Traditional file servers or network attached storage (NAS) devices support access requests received from networked client devices (e.g., PCs, workstations and the like) using network file system capabilities built in to the server operating system--which may be, for example, Linux or Microsoft Windows Server. Typically, these file systems, e.g. SMB/CIFS, allow the clients to access files and directories maintained on the server as if they were local to the requesting clients themselves--albeit, the transfers take place via the network and, as a result, are traditionally much slower.

"Thus, for example, file transfers from a NAS to a client device may be as slow as 10-50 Mbyte/s, even if Gigabit-Ethernet--which has a theoretical peak bandwidth of about 110 Mbyte/s--is used as the network. The discrepancy is more pronounced when actual transfer speeds of 10-50 Mbyte/s are measured against the read performance delivered by fast RAID systems of the type often attached to high-performance file servers. Those RAID systems are capable of delivering at rates of 200-300 MByte/s, or even higher for sufficiently large sequential reads.

"Data input/output (I/O) performance is a critical component in data intensive applications such as, by way of non-limiting example, signal processing applications, visualization applications, and the like.

"An object of the invention is to provide improved methods and systems for digital data processing and, more particularly, by way of non-limiting example, for accessing and/or delivering data in a client-server environment.

"A related object of the invention is to provide such methods and systems as improve the speed of data transfer between file servers and client devices.

"A still further related object of the invention is to provide such methods and systems as reduce the gap between high RAID performance and the performance usable at the application level, e.g., when a network is disposed in between."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "The foregoing are among the objects attained by the invention which provides, in one aspect, an improved system for data access comprising a file server that is coupled to a client device via one or more networks. The server comprises static storage that is organized in one or more directories, each containing, zero, one or more files. The server also comprises a file system operable, in cooperation with a file system on the client device, to provide authorized applications executing on the client device access to those directories and/or files. Fast file server (FFS) software or other functionality executing on or in connection with the server responds to requests received from the client device or an application executing thereon (collectively, 'client') by transferring requested data to the client in parallel over multiple network pathways. That data can comprise, for example, directory trees, files (or portions thereof), and so forth.

"Related aspects of the invention provide systems as described above in which the server stores a configuration file that is accessible by authorized clients (e.g., authorized applications executing on the client device) and that identifies one or more network interfaces over which the requested data can be transferred. Further related aspects of the invention provide systems as described above in which the configuration file additionally contains one or more security keys that can be used by the client and the server in connection with a requested data transfer.

"Yet still further related aspects of the invention provide systems as described above in which the file system of the server controls access to the configuration file by the client. Such control can be based, for example, on access permissions associated with the configuration file and with the executing application.

"Still further aspects of the invention provide systems as described above in which the client (e.g., an application executing on the client device) requests access to the configuration file and, if successful, generates a request for further data on the server. According to related aspects of the invention, the application generates such a request along with one or more of the security keys provided in the configuration file. In further related aspects of the invention, the application generates such a request on one or more network interfaces identified in that file. As noted above, the further data that is the subject of such a request can comprise, for example, directory trees, files (or portions thereof), and so forth.

"Further aspects of the invention provide systems as described above in which the FFS functionality executing on (or in connection with) the server listens for requests on network interfaces identified in the configuration file. According to further related aspects of the invention, it listens only on those network interfaces that are connected to physically independent networks. Still further related aspects of the invention provide systems as described above in which the FFS functionality uses security keys provided with requests to validate those requests.

"According to still further aspects of the invention, the FFS functionality responds to requests received from the client device by transferring requested data with the client via the multiple network connections over which those requests were received.

"Further aspects of the invention provide systems as described above in which the server is coupled to multiple client devices via one or more networks. In such systems, the server responds to requests received from each client device by transferring requested data to that client device over multiple network pathways. According to related aspects of the invention, the configuration file specifies a different subset of network interfaces for each client (e.g., each client device and/or application executing thereon).

"Still other aspects of the invention provide methods for transferring data between a server and one or more client devices paralleling the foregoing.

"These and other aspects of the invention are evident in the drawings and in the description that follows."

For additional information on this patent, see: Westerhoff, Malte; Stalling, Detlev. Fast File Server Methods and System. U.S. Patent Number 8775510, filed January 31, 2013, and published online on July 8, 2014. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=8775510.PN.&OS=PN/8775510RS=PN/8775510

Keywords for this news article include: Information Technology, PME IP Australia Pty Ltd, Information and Data Processing.

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Source: Information Technology Newsweekly


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