Google Research

From Research to Practice: Experiences Engineering a Production Metadata Database for a Scale Out File System

  • Charles Johnson
  • Kimberly Keeton
  • Charles B. Morrey III
  • Craig A. N. Soules
  • Alistair Veitch
  • Stephen Bacon
  • Oskar Batuner
  • Marcelo Condotta
  • Hamilton Coutinho
  • Patrick J. Doyle
  • Rafael Eichelberger
  • Hugo Kiehl
  • Guilherme Magalhaes
  • James McEvoy
  • Padmanabhan Nagarajan
  • Patrick Osborne
  • Joaquim Souza
  • Andy Sparkes
  • Mike Spitzer
  • Sebastien Tandel
  • Lincoln Thomas
  • Sebastian Zangaro
Proceedings of the 12th USENIX Conference on File and Storage Technologies (FAST 2014), USENIX


HP’s StoreAll with Express Query is a scalable commercial file archiving product that offers sophisticated file metadata management and search capabilities. A new REST API enables fast, efficient searching to find all files that meet a given set of metadata criteria and the ability to tag files with custom metadata fields. The product brings together two significant systems: a scale out file system and a metadata database based on LazyBase. In designing and building the combined product, we identified several real-world issues in using a pipelined database system in a distributed environment, and overcame several interesting design challenges that were not contemplated by the original research prototype. This paper highlights our experiences.

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