April 19, 2014

Using the InterMezzo Distributed Filesystem - page 2

Getting Connected in a Disconnected World

  • August 12, 2002
  • By Bill von Hagen

InterMezzo is a relatively young distributed filesystem with a focus on high availability, flexible replication of directories, disconnected operation, and persistent caching. InterMezzo is an Open Source project that is available under the GPL. The primary InterMezzo web site is http://www.inter-mezzo.org.

InterMezzo has a distinguished family tree in distributed filesystem terms. InterMezzo was inspired by Carnegie-Mellon University's Coda distributed filesystem, another popular distributed filesystem that is available for Linux and which will be discussed in a subsequent article in this series. InterMezzo is not based on the Coda source code (which is freely available), but has a completely new codebase. The father of InterMezzo, Peter Braam, was the head of the Coda project at CMU for several years before moving on with InterMezzo and other advanced computing projects. As a further twist, Coda itself began life as a branch from the AFS 2.0 source code, another popular distributed filesystem whose Open Source version, OpenAFS, will also be discussed in a subsequent article in this series. This conceptually rich family tree gives InterMezzo a long, well-established intellectual pedigree enables InterMezzo to take advantage of years of conceptual development in AFS and Coda without inheriting any parts of their large, complex code-base.

InterMezzo is becoming more and more popular. Articles on InterMezzo have appeared in Linux Format magazine and on the web at Byte.com. One fortunate side effect of its growing popularity and ongoing development is that installing and configuring InterMezzo is easier than ever. InterMezzo has been a part of the main Linux kernel source since kernel version 2.4.5, and comes pre-compiled as a loadable kernel module in many recent out-of-the-box Linux distributions, including Red Hat 7.3. As discussed in the next section, recent changes to the components of InterMezzo and their installation and configuration process have obsoleted the procedures described in earlier articles, and have also turned installing InterMezzo into a 15-minute administrative task.

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