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UNIX Filesystems: Evolution, Design, and Implementation 1st Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 072-3812075096
ISBN-10: 0471164836
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

A comprehensive look at the principles, functionality, and implementations of UNIX and Linux(r) filesystems

Every aspect of a network-storage, file transfers, backup-depends on the filesystem for structure, functionality, and integrity. Surprisingly, UNIX-the operating system of choice for mission-critical networks-has historically had little documentation on its filesystem structures. Written by Steve Pate, a sen-ior member of the VERITAS Filesystems Group, this book sheds light on the inner workings of UNIX filesystems and gives you the know-how to fine-tune your UNIX filesystems for optimal performance. Pate also provides a complete implementation of the System V filesystem on Linux, as well as instructions on how to build, install, and analyze it.

In addition to the author's comprehensive and practical coverage of all aspects of filesystems, this book:
* Covers the commands and implementations of all major versions of UNIX and Linux filesystems
* Includes case studies of three real-world implementations of the VERITAS Filesystem (VxFS), the Unix File System (UFS), and the Linux-based ext2 and ext3 filesystems
* Describes backup techniques, archiving tools, and frozen image techniques used to create stable backups
* Details how to build distributed and clustered filesystems using Storage Area Networks

Wiley Technology Publishing has teamed with VERITAS Software Corporation to deliver a series of books for the enterprise storage management community. These titles will provide system and network administrators, server application developers, and storage engineers with in-depth, hands-on information on how to build scalable, quick, and highly available storage area networks. Key books in the series, including this one, are designed to help CIOs make the decisions as to when and how to embark on investing in new technology.

The companion Web site includes all of the code for the databases included in this book.

About the Author

STEVE D. PATE is a senior manager and long time contributor to the VERITAS Filesystems Group. For the last fifteen years, he has been involved in the design and development of operating systems for numerous versions of UNIX and microkernel-based implementations of UNIX.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (January 23, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471164836
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471164838
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,681,276 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Finally, a book that describes all the major UNIX file systems!
In an eloquent writing style, Steve Pate has put together the best book on file systems. It is the first book to describe the internals of one of the most important of the commercial file systems: the Veritas File System (VxFS).
The book starts out with a concise history of UNIX and UNIX variants and some file system basics before diving into programming topics. The middle chapters discuss the UNIX/File System internals in a clear and easy to read manner. My favorite chapter was Chapter 9, a detailed look at VxFS! The later chapters describe kernel locking primitives used by file systems, pseudo file systems, and finally chapters 12 and 13 do a nice job covering file system backups and cluster /distributed file systems. As an added bonus, you actually get to design a file system for gnu/linux! Steve Pate does a creditable job showing what it takes to write a simple file system.
No matter if you are a programmer, system administrator or IT professional, this book as something for you. No other book even comes close to the depth that "UNIX Filesystems" provides.
The only negative points I had with "UNIX Filesystems" was that it was not printed in hardback form and the paper quality is poor. Shame on you, Wiley!
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Format: Paperback
This book is not a filesystem design or specification book. The explainations are high level overviews of the workings of various filesystems. It explains VFS and how the kernel abstracts various filesystems, what the basic design principles of each are and nothing more. The title of this book is somewhat misleading as it sounds like a book for programmers (reason I purchased it), but is more geared towards sysadmins.
A better title would have been "Filesystems Explained" or something of the sort. I guess "Design and Implementation" sounded cool....
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Format: Paperback
Let's face it: there's a dearth of books out there about filesystems. There are plenty of journals, but if you understand them, you wouldn't need a book like this. If you're trying to get your feet wet, you're often trying to learn more without knowing what to learn and where to find it.
Steve Pate's "UNIX Filesystems" helps fill this void. It is *not* intended for beginners; a book like "Linux Filesystems" (Von Hagen) would be better choice for someone who wants to start from the ground up. Once you're up, that's when the value of Pate's book kicks in.
Some have accused this book of being "yet another wannabe Linux filler book" -- this is simply not the case. For one thing, a Linux filler book is just a collection of man pages that have been casually rewritten into a barebones outline. They don't go in-depth -- they can't, because they really have nothing specific to say. "UNIX Filesystems" goes into great detail -- not as much as technical papers, granted, but then this book is easier to read than your average technical paper. As for it being a "Linux" book: a reading of the title and table of contents confirms that this book is about UNIX, a broader category of which Linux is a part.
Pate covers three major filesystems: ext2/3 (the baseline for GNU/Linux systems for years now), UFS (baseline for BSD systems), and VxFS. That's a nice spread of material: two of the most popular open filesystems plus the proprietary filesystem found on many proprietary UNIXes. (Perhaps this will annoy some diehard Linux enthusiasts, but it shouldn't. Linus Torvalds knows more about the FreeBSD kernel than most give him credit for, so learning from the competition is hardly a bad thing.
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Format: Paperback
As the author claims, this book supplements other UNIX internals books, because they lack a thorough discussion on filesystems. For example, for a long time I've been puzzled by the pseudo code for read(2) system call in Maurice Bach's book. An inode lock is taken even for read() (Design of the UNIX Operating System, p.97) That doesn't sound right. ufs_inode.h on Solaris implies that ufs uses rwlock (multi-reader/single-writer lock; forget the modern concurrent direct I/O for now). Jim Mauro's "Solaris Internals" talks about rwlocks and filesystems in separate chapters but not in the same context. Here Steve's book tells us that filesystems didn't use rwlocks almost until the time SVR4 came out, and Bach's book was written before that. This is just one example of the mysteries Steve's book solved for me. I also like Steve's examples of using Solaris crash(1M). (I even collected them in a web page: rootshell.be/~yong321/computer/SolarisMdb.txt).

Superb technical details aside, this book is also written in good pedagogical style. Hands-on exercises always help. (How many people have read Goodheart's "Magic Garden" book for longer than a week?) Some code examples, pseudo or real, also help. Steve's book has both. Lastly, it comes with a mini-filesystem. I didn't test it but I believe it would help CS students tremendously.

Since the book is just much about Solaris as about Linux, I wish he talked more about Linux debugfs() and perhaps could use gdb to debug ext2 filesystems. I hope the new edition, if there is one, can give examples of Solaris mdb since crash is deprecated, and can expand the examples to include some new FSs, riserfs, Oracle's OCFS, etc. (Both have source code available to the public.
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