Patent Title: Indexed file system and a method and a mechanism for accessing data records from such a system
Abstract: A computer filing system includes a data access and allocation mechanism including a directory and a plurality of indexed data files or hash tables. The directory is preferably a radix tree including directory entries which contain pointers to respective ones of the hash tables. Using a plurality of hash tables avoids the whole database ever having to be re-hashed all at once. If a hash table exceeds a preset maximum size as data is added, it is replaced by two hash tables and the directory is updated to include two separate directory entries each containing a pointer to one of the new hash tables. The directory is locally extensible such that new levels are added to the directory only where necessary to distinguish between the hash tables. Local extensibility prevents unnecessary expansion of the size of the directory while also allowing the size of the hash tables to be controlled. This allows optimisation of the data access mechanism such that an optimal combination of directory-look-up and hashing processes is used. Additionally, if the number of keys mapped to an indexed data file is less than a threshold number (corresponding to the number of entries which can be held in a reasonable index), the index for the data file is built with a one-to-one relationship between keys and index entries such that each index entry identifies a data block holding data for only one key. This avoids the overhead of the collision detection of hashing when it ceases to be useful.