File System, Simulation, I/O Manager, Volume Manager, Operating System


Computer Engineering


File systems are fundamental for computers and devices with data storage units. They allow operating systems to understand and organize streams of bytes and obtain readable files from them. There are numerous file systems available in the industry, all with their own unique features. Understanding how these file systems work is essential for computer science students, but their complex nature can be difficult and challenging to grasp, especially for students at the beginning of their career. The Zion File System Simulator was designed with this in mind. Zion is a teaching and experimenting tool, in the form of a small application, built to help students understand how the I/O manager of an operating system interacts with the drive through the file system. Users can see and analyze the structure of a simple, flat file system provided with Zion, or simulate the most common structures such as FAT or NTFS. Students can also create their own implementations and run them through the simulator to analyze the different behaviors. Zion runs on Windows, and the application is provided with dynamic-link libraries that include the interfaces of a file system and a volume manager. These interfaces allow programmers to build their own file system or volume manager in Visual Studio using any .NET language (3.0 or above). Zion gives the users the power to adjust simulated architectural parameters such as volume and block size, or performance factors such as seek and transfer time. Zion runs workloads of I/O operations such as “create,” “delete,” “read,” and “write,” and analyzes the resulting metrics including I/O operations, read/write time, and disk fragmentation. Zion is a learning tool. It is not designed for measuring accurate performance of file systems and volume managers. The robustness of the application, together with its expandability, makes Zion a potential laboratory tool for computer science classes, helping students learn how file systems work and interact with an operating system


Original Citation:

Paladin, F., & Adams, D. R. (2016). Zion File System Simulator. Journal of Computer and Communications, 4(4), 10–19.