AFS was the first distributed file system designed for tens of thousands of machines, and pioneered the use of scalable, secure and ubiquitous access to shared file data. To achieve the goal of providing a common shared file system used by large networks of people, AFS introduced novel approaches to caching, security, management and administration. AFS is still in use today as both an open source system and as the file system in commercial applications. It has also inspired several cloud-based storage applications.
The 2016 Software System Award recipients designed and built the Andrew File System in the 1980’s while working as a team at the Information Technology Center (ITC), a partnership between Carnegie Mellon University and IBM.