AFS keeps going

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Andrew File System (AFS) was among the early distributed file systems, but it continues to play a role amid newer developments.

The technology started life as the product of a 1980s research project at Carnegie Mellon University. In 1989, a group of researchers from the university launched Transarc Corp. to sell the technology under the AFS label.

IBM Corp. bought Transarc in 1994 and eventually released its code to the open-source community, resulting in OpenAFS. Arla is another open-source version of AFS.

Additionally, AFS has influenced other products. For example, AFS' underlying principles helped shape Spinnaker Networks Inc.'s SpinServer storage solution. Officials at Network Appliance Inc., which acquired Spinnaker earlier this year, plan to integrate Spinnaker's technology with NetApp's Data OnTap operating system, said Jeff Hornung, vice president and general manager of NetApp's Gateway Business Unit.

He said the plan is to merge the two products into a common storage grid in the next three years.

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