SafeFS: A Modular Architecture for Secure User-Space File Systems (One FUSE to rule them all)


By João Paulo, HASLab, INESC TEC & Minho University.

Abstract. The exponential growth of data produced, the ever faster and ubiquitous connectivity, and the collaborative processing tools lead to a clear shift of data stores from local servers to the cloud. This migration occurring across different application domains and types of users—individual or corporate—raises two immediate challenges. First, outsourcing data introduces security risks, hence protection mechanisms must be put in place to provide guarantees such as privacy, confidentiality and integrity. Second, there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution that would provide the right level of safety or performance for all applications and users, and it is therefore necessary to provide mechanisms that can be tailored to the various deployment scenarios.

In this paper, we address both challenges by introducing SafeFS, a modular architecture based on software-defined storage principles featuring stackable building blocks that can be combined to construct a secure distributed file system. SafeFS allows users to specialize their data store to their specific needs by choosing the combination of blocks that provide the best safety and performance tradeoffs. The file system is implemented in user space using FUSE and can access remote data stores. The provided building blocks notably include mechanisms based on encryption, replication, and coding. We implemented SafeFS and performed in-depth evaluation across a range of workloads. Results reveal that while each layer has a cost, one can build safe yet efficient storage architectures. Furthermore, the different combinations of blocks sometimes yield surprising tradeoffs..

Keywords. Distributed Systems, Storage Systems, Software-Defined Storage, Filesystems, Dependability, Privacy

About the Speaker. João Paulo is currently a Post-Doc researcher at HASLab, INESC TEC and University of Minho. He obtained a PhD degree in Computer Science from the MAP-i Doctoral Program in Computer Science, which is a joint program of Minho, Aveiro and Porto Universities with the collaboration of CMU and UT-Austin Universities (2015). Also, he has a M.Sc. in Informatics Engineering (2009) and a B.Sc. in Informatics Engineering (2007), both concluded at the University of Minho. Currently, his research focus on large scale distributed systems with an emphasis on storage systems and data management. He has several publications on journals and international conferences, and has participated in the research and development of EU (CoherentPaaS, SafeCloud) and national (Pastramy, RED) projects..


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