STARFISH: Simulation Tool for Advanced Research in File Systems (1994-2001)

This project is no longer active; this page is no longer updated.

Related projects: [Armada], [CHARISMA], [Galley], [Parallel-I/O], [RAPID-Transit]

Related keywords: [pario], [software]


Large parallel computing systems, especially those used for scientific computation, consume and produce huge amounts of data. To provide the necessary semantics for parallel processes accessing a file, and to provide the necessary throughput for an application working with terabytes of data, requires a multiprocessor file system.

In the STARFISH project we developed the concept of disk-directed I/O, in which the application process requested a large parallel data transfer to or from a parallel file, and then the file system arranged the transfer of information between disks and memory in a way that suited the disks' own timing. The results show strong performance benefits--- but only if suitable interfaces allow the application to make such requests known to the file system at a high level. The most complete paper is [kotz:jdiskdir].

STARFISH is a simulator for experimenting with concepts in parallel file systems. It is based on Eric Brewer's Proteus simulator from MIT, version 3.01, and runs only on (MIPS-based) DECstations.

The name: The name STARFISH is an acronym (Simulation Tool for Advanced Research in File Systems), but it fits with the maritime theme of the Proteus simulator on which it is based (Proteus was a Greek god of the sea).


Warning: I provide the code as-is, with little cleanup or added documentation. Some of the code is out-of-date and may have bugs. Other parts are incomplete. Many of the analysis scripts are fragile. The code is constantly evolving, and new public releases may be rare. But many people have asked me for it, so here it is.

See other warnings in the README file.

Usage rules: You're welcome to look at the code and even try to run it, but I really don't have time to help you out much. If you publish any results based on this simulator, please cite me and provide the URL for this page.

Copying rules: This package may be freely copied as long as it is kept intact with my name on it. You may not sell it for commercial purposes (hah! as if anyone would pay for it.) Please send me a note if you have a copy of this code, so I can keep track of how many copies there are, send you email about new versions, and so forth. Please ask me before you distribute any modified version.

Version 3 (October 1996):

Release 3.0 (tgz):

Version 2 (January 1995):

Sources (tgz): Experimental configurations and raw data (tgz): Figures and data (tgz) for kotz:jdiskdir:

Note re: kotz:diskdir The Version 2 code evolved after the experiments in some of those papers were run; in particular, the OSDI results were based on an earlier, buggier version of iopfs-cache. See the TR version of that paper for correct results.


David Kotz.


This project was supported largely by NSF award CCR-940919.

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Papers tagged 'starfish'

[Also available in BibTeX]

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[Kotz research]