mfs(7) a networking, distributed, highly available file system

Other Alias

lizardfs, moosefs


LizardFS is a networking, highly available, distributed file system. It spreads data over several physical localisations (servers), which are visible to a user as one resource. For standard file operations LizardFS acts as other Unix-alike file systems. It has hierarchical structure (directory tree), stores files' attributes (permissions, last access and modification times) as well as makes it possible to create special files (block and character devices, pipes and sockets), symbolic links (file names pointing to another files accessible locally, not necessarily on LizardFS) and hard links (different names of files which refer to the same data on LizardFS). Access to the file system can be limited basing on IP address and/or password.

Distinctive features of LizardFS are:

• higher reliability (data can be stored in several copies on separate computers)

• dynamically expanding disk space by attaching new computers/disks

• possibility of storing deleted files for a defined period of time ("trash bin" service on a file system level)

• possibility of creating snapshot of a file, which means coherent copy of them whole file, even while the file is being written.


LizardFS installation consists of five types of machines:

• master metadata server (or 'the master') a managing server - single computer managing the whole filesystem, storing metadata for every file (information on size, attributes and file localisation(s), including all information about non-regular files, i.e. directories, sockets, pipes and devices.

• metadata server shadows (or 'the shadow') - almost identical to the master, there can be any number of those, they work as master metadata server backup and they are ready for immediate deployment as new master in case of current master failure.

• data servers (any number of commodity servers storing files data and replicating it among themselves (if a certain file is supposed to exist in more than one copy).

• metadata backup servers - any number of servers, all of which store metadata changelogs and periodically downloading base metadata file; it's easy to run mfsmaster process on such machine when primary master stops working.

• client computers referring to LizardFS stored files - any number of machines with working mfsmount process that communicates with the managing server to receive and modify file information and with chunkservers to exchange actual file data.

Metadata is stored in memory of the managing server and simultaneously is being saved on disk (as a periodically updated binary file and immediately updated incremental logs). The main binary file as well as the logs are replicated to metaloggers (if present).

File data is divided to fragments (chunks) of maximum size 64MB each which are stored as files on selected disks on data servers (chunkservers). Each chunk is saved on different computers in a number of copies equal to a "goal" for the given file.


Report bugs to <[email protected]>.


Copyright 2008-2009 Gemius SA, 2013-2015 Skytechnology sp. z o.o.

LizardFS is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, version 3.

LizardFS is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with LizardFS. If not, see