Richer file system metadata using links and attributes

Appeared in Proceedings of the 22nd IEEE / 13th NASA Goddard Conference on Mass Storage Systems and Technologies.


Traditional file systems provide a weak and inadequate structure for meaningful representations of file interrelationships and other context-providing metadata. Existing designs, which store additional file-oriented metadata either in a database, on disk, or both are limited by the technologies upon which they depend. Moreover, they do not provide for user-defined relationships among files. To address these issues, we created the Linking File System (LiFS), a file system design in which files may have both arbitrary user- or application-specified attributes, and attributed links between files. In order to assure performance when accessing links and attributes, the system is designed to store metadata in non-volatile memory. This paper discusses several use cases that take advantage of this approach and describes the user-space prototype we developed to test the concepts presented.

Publication date:
April 2005

Sasha Ames
Nikhil Bobb
Scott A. Brandt
Adam Hiatt
Carlos Maltzahn
Ethan L. Miller
Alisa Neeman
Deepa Tuteja

Storage Class Memories

Available media

Full paper text: PDF

Bibtex entry

  author       = {Sasha Ames and Nikhil Bobb and Scott A. Brandt and Adam Hiatt and Carlos Maltzahn and Ethan L. Miller and Alisa Neeman and Deepa Tuteja},
  title        = {Richer file system metadata using links and attributes},
  booktitle    = {Proceedings of the 22nd IEEE / 13th NASA Goddard Conference on Mass Storage Systems and Technologies},
  month        = apr,
  year         = {2005},
Last modified 5 Aug 2020