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The ADvanced Systems Laboratory (ADSL)
Publication abstract

Membrane: Operating System Support for Restartable File Systems

Swaminathan Sundararaman, Sriram Subramanian, Abhishek Rajimwale, Andrea C. Arpaci-Dusseau, Remzi H. Arpaci-Dusseau, Michael M. Swift
Department of Computer Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison


We introduce Membrane, a set of changes to the operating system to support restartable file systems. Membrane allows an operating system to tolerate a broad class of file system failures and does so while remaining transparent to running applications; upon failure, the file system restarts, its state is restored, and pending application requests are serviced as if no failure had occurred. Membrane provides transparent recovery through a lightweight logging and checkpoint infrastructure, and includes novel techniques to improve performance and correctness of its fault-anticipation and recovery machinery. We tested Membrane with ext2, ext3, and VFAT. Through experimentation, we show that Membrane induces little performance overhead and can tolerate a wide range of file system crashes. More critically, Membrane does so with little or no change to existing file systems thus improving robustness to crashes without mandating intrusive changes to existing file-system code.

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