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Old 04-06-2010, 10:26 AM   #1
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Unioning and mirroring file system over the internet

Blue sky thinking at the moment:

I have a number of file servers, each at different sites. I would like to be able to make these appear as one, so that files on any server can be accessed from any site, and the user doesn't even see there are multiple servers.

Obviously, the internet is slow, especially the upload speeds. So when a file is written the write ought to go to the server on the client's LAN - even if it was previously on another of the servers.

However, for robustness, some sort of background mirroring is also wanted. If all the servers were left on and connected, they eventually end up all in sync. But this mirroring needs to be mindful of bandwidth usage; if someone writes a big file to their local server, copying that to the other servers can't interfere with normal internet usage.

I think UnionFS or similar might be able to handle the unioning side, but not the mirroring stuff.

Any thoughts on doing this?
Old 04-06-2010, 03:28 PM   #2
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I've used at least one commercial program that did something like that; it did it's mirroring at night, so as not to slow down local traffic. But it occasionally lost data and here's why: When a file is modified by two different sites and then are inconsistent for mirroring, you have to be able resolve that conflict. Just picking the latest one loses data. I would think you'd have to use a revision control system to check files out and check them back in again... and that part would have to be done in real time.
Old 04-06-2010, 05:07 PM   #3
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Transparent versioning seems like an interesting idea. Problem is a lot of files don't diff well, so each small change essentially results in another copy of the entire file size.
File 'forks' (I think they're called) would allow the two versions to coexist appearing as one file, but I bet badly-behaved programs would trash the fork.


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