What is a distributed file system?

A distributed file system is a physically distributed implementation of the classical time-sharing model of the traditional file system, allowing users to manipulate, organize and share data seamlessly, regardless of its actual location on the network.

what is distributed file system

Distributed file systems

A distributed file system resides on different machines and/or sites, and offers a unified, logical view of data scattered across machines/sites, whether local or remote.


Metadata in object storage systems can be augmented with custom attributes to handle additional file-related information. Doing so with a traditional storage system would require a custom application and database to manage the metadata (these are known as “extended attributes”).

The Benefits

what are the benefits of a distributed file system?

  • Multi-user, local/remote file sharing
  • Unified and consistent view of shared folders/resources
  • Data access transparency and location independence
  • Data availability, even upon server or disk drive failures
  • Improved File Availability, Access Time, and Network Efficiency
  • Efficient Load Balancing and File Location Transparency
  • Increased Scalability and Interoperability
  • Increased Security and Administrative Flexibility

Examples of Distributed File Systems

  • NFS
  • Hadoop
  • NetWare

Did you know?

Scality RING offers both a File and Object Storage Solution.

Why does it matter to have both?

  • It allows for future-proofing of your storage infrastructure: native file access is available to your current enterprise applications right away, while you have the option to switch to object access whenever your cloud-enabled applications require that along the way, on your own terms and on your own timeline.
  • Scality’s native file access is layered on top of an underlying object store, so it inherits the performance, scalability, and flexibility attributes Scality is known for.