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UnifyFS: A Distributed Burst Buffer File System

Node-local burst buffers are becoming an indispensable hardware resource on large-scale supercomputers to buffer the bursty I/O from scientific applications. However, there is a lack of software support for burst buffers to be efficiently shared by applications within a batch-submitted job and recycled across different batch jobs. In addition, burst buffers need to cope with a variety of challenging I/O patterns from data-intensive scientific applications.

UnifyFS is a user-level burst buffer file system under active development. UnifyFS supports scalable and efficient aggregation of I/O bandwidth from burst buffers while having the same life cycle as a batch-submitted job. While UnifyFS is designed for N-N write/read, UnifyFS compliments its functionality with the support for N-1 write/read. It efficiently accelerates scientific I/O based on scalable metadata indexing, co-located I/O delegation, and server-side read clustering and pipelining.


UnifyFS documentation is at

For instructions on how to build and install UnifyFS, see Build UnifyFS.

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Status of UnifyFS development branch (dev):

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UnifyFS Citation

We recommend that you use this citation for UnifyFS:

  • Michael Brim, Adam Moody, Seung-Hwan Lim, Ross Miller, Swen Boehm, Cameron Stanavige, Kathryn Mohror, Sarp Oral, “UnifyFS: A User-level Shared File System for Unified Access to Distributed Local Storage,” 37th IEEE International Parallel & Distributed Processing Symposium (IPDPS 2023), St. Petersburg, FL, May 2023.

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