Feeling very daunted

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Distributed and parallel systems

Distributed and parallel systems (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of my Christmas tasks is to have some serious thoughts about, and maybe make some progress with my “invention” or “experiment” for my PhD. It is not easy.

Currently I am thinking about what I could do about a parallel file system. There are several problems with this, not least of which is what distributed system could I test a distributed file system with? I have now taken delivery of three 250GB USB disks so I have that part of a RAID 0 array, which seems the most obvious place to start. But I do not have a distributed system with three I/O nodes.

(Well I do have three Raspberry Pi boxes on which I can run Plan 9, which is a distributed operating system, but I am not entirely convinced any more this is a practical option.)

Then there is a question of originality – because twenty years ago an experimental file system, Vesta, was built that seems to, more or less, do what I want. I am not sure Vesta is being used anywhere any more, but I do not just want to go around re-implementing it. Now, I am sure when I actually start writing code, if that happens, it will move away from Vesta (especially as I have no Vesta code and I am not aware it is available in any case) and towards something else, but right now it just feels like I am walking down a well trodden road.