LineFS: Efficient SmartNIC Offload of a Distributed File System with Pipeline Parallelism


In multi-tenant systems, the CPU overhead of distributed file systems (DFSes) is increasingly a burden to application performance. CPU and memory interference cause degraded and unstable application and storage performance, in particular for operation latency. Recent client-local DFSes for persistent memory (PM) accelerate this trend. DFS offload to SmartNICs is a promising solution to these problems, but it is challenging to fit the complex demands of a DFS onto simple SmartNIC processors located across PCIe.

We present LineFS, a SmartNIC-offloaded, high-performance DFS with support for client-local PM. To fully leverage the SmartNIC architecture, we decompose DFS operations into execution stages that can be offloaded to a parallel data-path execution pipeline on the SmartNIC. LineFS offloads CPU-intensive DFS tasks, like replication, compression, data publication, index and consistency management to a SmartNIC.

We implement LineFS on the Mellanox BlueField SmartNIC and compare it to Assise, a state-of-the-art PM DFS. LineFS improves latency in LevelDB up to 80% and throughput in Filebench up to 79%, while providing extended DFS availability during host system failures.

Proceedings of SOSP'21