Design Goals and Implementation of the
New High Performance File System

The High Performance File System (hereafter HPFS), which is making its first appearance in the OS/2 operating system Version 1.2, had its genesis in the network division of Microsoft and was designed by Gordon Letwin, the chief architect of the OS/2 operating system. The HPFS has been designed to meet the demands of increasingly powerful PC's, fixed disks, and networks for many years to come and to serve as a suitable platform for object-oriented languages, applications, and user interfaces. The HPFS is a complex topic because it incorporates three distinct yet interrelated file system issues. First, the HPFS is a way of organizing data on a random access block storage device. Second, it is a software module that translates file-oriented requests from an application program into more primitive requests that a device driver can understand, using a variety of creative techniques to maximize performance. Third, the HPFS is a practical illustration of an important new OS/2 feature known as Installable File Systems. This article introduces the three aspects of the HPFS. But first, it puts the HPFS in perspective by reviewing some of the problems that led to the system's existence.

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