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Components of a Network Operating System

Components of a Network Operating System

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Published by gerome_vas
network operating system
network operating system

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Published by: gerome_vas on Oct 23, 2009
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Components of a Network OperatingSystem
Recent advances in hardware interconnection techniques for local networkshave highlighted the inadequacies in existing software interconnectiontechnology. Though the idea of using a pure message-passing operatingsystem to improve this situation is not a new one, in the environment of amature, high speed, local area network it is an idea whose time has come. Anew timesharing system being developed at the Lawrence LivermoreLaboratory is a pure message-passing system. In this system, all services thatare typically obtained directly by a system call (reading and writing files,terminal I/O, creating and controlling other processes, etc.) are insteadobtained by communicating via messages with system service processes(which may be local or remote). The motivation for the development of thisnew system and some design and implementation features needed for itsefficient operation are discussed.
 Network, local network, operating system, network operating system,message, protocol, distributed
The basic job performed by an operating system is multiplexing the physicalresources available on its system (Fig. l). By a variety of techniques such as timeslicing, spooling, paging, reservation, allocation, etc. the operating system transformsthe available physical resources into logical resources that can be utilized by theactive processes running under it (Fig. 2.(
Figure 1 - Physical resources directly attached to a single processor.
Figure 2 - Logical resources made available to a user process.
The interface between a process running under an operating system and the worldoutside its memory space is the "system call", a request for service from the operatingsystem. The usual approach taken in operating system design has been to providedistinct system calls to obtain service for each type of available local resource (Fig.3.(
Figure 3 - Request structure for a typical third generation operatingsystem.
If a network becomes available, system calls for network communication are added tothe others already supported by the operating system. Some problems with this
approach are the Dual Access and Dual Service Dichotomies discussed below. It isargued here that operating systems to be connected to a network (particularly a highspeed local area network) should be based on a pure message-passing monitor (Fig. 4(
Figure 4 - Resource interface for a message-passing operating system.
The title of this paper has at least two interpretations that are consistent with the intentof the author :
If the term "Network Operating System" is taken to refer to a collection of cooperating computer systems working together to provide services bymultiplexing the hardware resources available on a network, then the title"Components of a Network Operating System" suggests a discussion of the"Component" systems.
On the other hand, the term "Network Operating System" can also be taken torefer to a single machine monitor to which the adjective "Network" is appliedto indicate a design that facilitates network integration. In this case the title"Components of a Network Operating System" suggests a discussion of thecomponent pieces or modules that comprise such a single machine operatingsystem.The basic approach taken here will be to describe the components of a single machineoperating system being implemented at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory (LLL).The presentation will be largely machine independent, however, and will includediscussion of the integration of the described system into a network of similar anddissimilar systems.
2.Historical Perspective
LLL has a long history of pushing the state of the art in high speed scientific processing to satisfy the prodigious raw processing requirements of the many physicssimulation codes run at the laboratory. The high speed, often few of a kind computingengines (For example, Univac-1, 1953, Larc, Remington Rand, 1960, Stretch, IBM,1961, 6600, CDC, 1964, Star-100, CDC, 1974, Cray-1, Cray Research, 1978) utilized

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