Warrior Tang (tangaroa) wrote in unixadmin,
Warrior Tang

Logically or physically consolidating directories of similar files?

Consider the common occurrence of a directory having files that all have the same security permissions and that are usually accessed by the same programs, such that several of the files are likely to be read when one is read. Is there any filesystem technology or literature regarding merging multiple files into a single security domain such that having access to one fast-tracks your access to others (assuming there is a significant overhead to security lookups) and/or merging the files into a single I/O operation that loads all the files into memory when a request for one is made?

I've seen applications that zip up their data files to improve the read time, which incidentally puts all the files in one security domain, but I would like to know if there is anything which has the same effect and is transparent to applications and the user space. Imagine something along the lines of mounting a zipped directory as a pseudo-filesystem, or a computer system might show a directory in the filesystem but have a tarfile on disk with something in the file system to tell the OS to treat the tarfile as a directory. Is there a name for this kind of thing?

Also, am I correct in assuming that solid-state drives and their ability to read multiple files at once would minimize the I/O gain from merging the several files into one resource on the hardware?

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