White Paper

A Case For Packing And Indexing In Cloud File Systems

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Small (kilobyte-sized) objects are the bane of highly scalable cloud object stores. Larger (at least megabytesized) objects not only improve performance, but also result in orders of magnitude lower cost, due to the current operation-based pricing model of commodity cloud object stores. For example, in Amazon S3’s current pricing scheme, uploading 1GiB data by issuing 4KiB PUT requests (at 0.0005¢ each) is approximately 57× more expensive than storing that same 1GiB for a month. To address this problem, we propose client-side packing of small immutable files into gigabyte-sized blobs with embedded indices to identify each file’s location. Experiments with a packing implementation in Alluxio (an open-source distributed file system) illustrate the potential benefits, such as simultaneously increasing file creation throughput by up to 60× and decreasing cost to 1/25000 of the original.