Brief History of OrangeFS

OrangeFS emerged as a development branch of PVFS2, so its early history is that of PVFS. Spanning twenty years, the history behind OrangeFS is summarized in the time line below.

A development branch is a new direction in development. The OrangeFS branch began in 2007, when leaders in the PVFS2 user community determined that:


This is why OrangeFS is often described as the next generation of PVFS2.

Time Line




Parallel Virtual File System (PVFS) is developed by Walt Ligon and Eric Blumer, under a NASA grant to study I/O patterns of parallel programs. PVFS version 0 is based on the Vesta parallel file system, developed at IBM's T. J. Watson Research Center, and its name is derived from its development to work on Parallel Virtual Machine (PVM).


Rob Ross rewrites PVFS to use TCP/IP, departing significantly from the original Vesta design. PVFS version 1 is developed for a cluster of DEC Alpha workstations on FDDI, a predecessor to fast Ethernet networking. PVFS makes significant gains over Vesta in the area of scheduling disk I/O when multiple clients access a common file.

Late 1994

The Goddard Space Flight Center selects PVFS as the file system for the first Beowulf (early implementations of Linux-based commodity computers running in parallel). Ligon and Ross work with key GSFC developers, including Thomas Sterling, Donald Becker, Dan Ridge, and Eric Hendricks over the next several years.


PVFS is released as an open source package.


Ligon proposes development of a new PVFS version. Initially developed at Clemson University, the new design is completed in a joint effort among contributors from Clemson, Argonne National Laboratory, and the Ohio Supercomputer Center, including major contributions by Phil Carns, a PhD student at Clemson.


PVFS2 is released, featuring object servers, distributed metadata, accommodation of multiple metadata servers, file views based on Message Passing Interface for multiple network types, and a flexible architecture for easy experimentation and extensibility. PVFS2 becomes an “Open Community” project, with contributions from many universities and companies around the world.


PVFS version 1 is retired. PVFS2 is still supported by Clemson and Argonne today. In recent years, various contributors (many of them charter designers and developers) continued to improve PVFS performance.


Argonne National Laboratories selects PVFS2 for its IBM Blue Gene/P, a super computer sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy.


Ligon and others at Clemson begin exploring possibilities for the next generation of PVFS in a roadmap that addresses growing needs of mainstream cluster computing in the business sector. As they begin developing extensions for supporting large directories of small files, security enhancements, and redundancy capabilities, many of the newer features conflict with development for Blue Gene. With diverging priorities, the PVFS source code is divided into two branches. The branch for the new roadmap becomes "Orange" in honor of Clemson school colors, and the branch for legacy systems is dubbed "Blue" for its pioneering customer installation at Argonne. OrangeFS becomes the new open systems brand to represent this next-generation virtual file system, with an emphasis on security, redundancy and a broader range of applications.

Fall 2010

OrangeFS becomes the main branch of PVFS, and Omnibond begins offering commercial support for OrangeFS/PVFS, with new feature requests from paid support customers receiving highest development priority. First production release of OrangeFS introduced.

Spring 2011

OrangeFS 2.8.4 is released.

September 2011

OrangeFS adds Windows client.

February 2012

OrangeFS 2.8.5 is released.

June 2012

OrangeFS 2.8.6 is released, offering improved performance, web clients and direct-interface libraries. The new OrangeFS Web pack provides integrated support for WebDAV and S3.

January 2013

OrangeFS 2.8.7 is released

May 2013

OrangeFS is available on AWS Marketplace. OrangeFS 2.9 Beta Version available, adding two new security modes and allowing distribution of directory entries among multiple data servers.

March 2014

OrangeFS 2.8.8 is released.

November 2014

OrangeFS 2.9 is released, adding capability-based security, scalable distributed directory service and new documentation sections as well as the most extensive testing of all OrangeFS versions.

February 2015

OrangeFS 2.9.1 is released.

June 2015

OrangeFS 2.9.2 is released.

July 2015

OrangeFS 2.9.3 is released.

June 2016

OrangeFS 2.9.5 is released.

September 2016

OrangeFS 2.9.6 is released.

November 2017

OrangeFS 2.9.7 is released, adding support for Oracle Linux 7.3 and newer, support for Fedora 26, configuration support for large LMDB databases, OrangeFS rpm in Fedora distribution beginning with Fedora 27 or 28, OrangeFS rpm in Fedora's EPEL repository making it available to other distributions, added example profile.d scripts, added configure option to specify your own LMDB installation, added default conf file path/filename, if not specified on pvfs2-genconfig command line and enhanced ACL processing to be more posix-like.