SCAFS - A Relational Database Accelerator

This was a software and hardware to speed up relational database queries. The main filtering is done by a board on the SCSI bus alongside the disks with the data.

Click on any of the pictures to get a larger version:

SCAFS brochure front page Searching without SCAFS Searching with SCAFS
Some SCAFS brochure pages (about 50k each).

The name SCAFS stands for 'Son-of CAFS". CAFS stands for "Content Addressable Filestore System", a hardware assist which ran - and still does run - on the ICL mainframes. I was with SCAFS from its birth to eventual death and helped with the initial project planning, I did the OS design and coding for the board. SCAFS ran as an add-on in the medium range Unix machines whereas CAFS was standard in the VME mainframes.

See Wiki on Content Addressable File Store which mentions this briefly as the DRS cousin of the ICL CAFS.

Mike Martin manager Here from one of the leaflets is Mike Martin looking like he's using SCAFS to obtain vital management information.

Mike was the one who managed the whole project and made it work. He got Professor Bill O'Riordan to champion it as a 'skunk works'. He wrote a C preprocessor 'C_Asm' which expanded assembler code within the C source into commands to generate the code at run time and wrote much of the run time code generation.

SCAFS Mk2 board SCAFS Mk2 board

Other notable people on the project were APG (Graham) Brown who was able to talk databases with the DB vendors, ferreted out the formats, and established interfaces with them. David Crane who designed the hardware and made it cheap and reliable, and PJ (Jez) Stowe who started off designing and coding the on-board SCSI interface and later large parts of the Unix drivers and interface.