While products that incorporate the standard are still down the road, pNFS is expected to speed data transfer, eliminate bottlenecks and increase the scalability of clustered NAS products. Parallel NFS provides a specification for placing a metadata server outside the data path of servers attached to a multinode storage system. Storage nodes can be held together with another clustered file system, while pNFS exposes the block mapping of files and objects to the client. The client then receives those blocks through multiple parallel network channels and reassembles them for presentation to the user.
Some storage administrators said they hope VMware will offer a client for pNFS to help overcome storage I/O issues with the server virtualization software. Eisler also blogged in August with some further clarifications regarding that idea.