Department of Computer Science and Technology

Technical reports

Filing in a heterogeneous network

Andrew Franklin Seaborne

April 1989, 131 pages

This technical report is based on a dissertation submitted July 1987 by the author for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy to the University of Cambridge, Churchill College.

DOI: 10.48456/tr-169


Heterogeneity is becoming a common feature in local area networks as the variety of equipment that is marketed increases. Each such system will have its own mix of hardware and software but it is still desirable to be able to bring in new applications and machines and integrate them with the existing equipment.

Careful design is required to be able to introduce new subsystems into the network in a manner that reduces the manpower needed. If binary compatibility for application programs is achieved then new software can be introduced without the need for source code alterations. If the design of the computing environment is correctly constructed then the introduction of new hardware will not require alterations or cause disruption to the rest of the system.

There is a reduction in the ability to share information through files being accessible to many people and from many locations when there are a number of filing systems present in the network. Ideally a single filing system spanning all operating systems that exist in the distributed computing environment would give maximum possible sharing.

Any existing file service will provide a set of facilities for the construction of a name space by its client or enforce a predefined naming structure which is not compatible with any other. This thesis describes a single network filing system that has been constructed by separating file storage from file naming. By introducing a directory service to manage the name space, and using file servers only for file storage, the need for each client to be extended to take account of every file service is avoided. A single network file transfer protocol allows the directory service to authenticate each request and allows for the introduction of new equipment with no disruption to the existing system.

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BibTeX record

  author =	 {Seaborne, Andrew Franklin},
  title = 	 {{Filing in a heterogeneous network}},
  year = 	 1989,
  month = 	 apr,
  url = 	 {},
  institution =  {University of Cambridge, Computer Laboratory},
  doi = 	 {10.48456/tr-169},
  number = 	 {UCAM-CL-TR-169}