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Chapter11Rev05 - Chapter 11(Revision number 5 File System...

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1 Chapter 11 (Revision number 5) File System In this chapter, we will discuss issues related to mass storage systems. In particular, we will discuss the choices in designing a file system and its implementation on the disk (hard drive as it is popularly referred to in the personal computer parlance). What is a file ? We have all seen physical filing cabinets and manila file folders with papers in them. Typically, tags on the folders identify the content for easy retrieval (see Figure 11.1). Usually, we may keep a directory folder that tells us the organization of the files in the filing cabinet. A computer file system is similar to a physical filing cabinet. Each file (similar to a manila file folder) is a collection of information with attributes associated with the information. Process is the software abstraction for the processor; data structure is the software abstraction for memory. Similarly, a file is the software abstraction for an input/output device since a device serves as either a source or sink of information. This abstraction allows a user program to interact with I/O in a device independent manner. First, we will discuss the attributes associated with a file and the design choices therein, and then consider the design choices in its implementation on a mass storage device. 11.1 Attributes We refer to the attributes associated with a file as metadata . The metadata represents space overhead and therefore requires careful analysis as to its utility. What are the attributes we may want to associate with a file? Figure 11.1: File cabinet and file folder
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