File Systems and Storage

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Non-volatile Storage

Implications of the Datacenter's Shifting Center

by Mihir Nanavati, Malte Schwarzkopf, Jake Wires, Andrew Warfield | January 5, 2016


Crash Consistency

Rethinking the Fundamental Abstractions of the File System

by Thanumalayan Sankaranarayana Pillai, Vijay Chidambaram, Ramnatthan Alagappan, Samer Al-Kiswany, Andrea C. Arpaci-Dusseau, Remzi H. Arpaci-Dusseau | July 7, 2015


A File System All Its Own

Flash memory has come a long way. Now it's time for software to catch up.

by Adam H. Leventhal | April 13, 2013


Anatomy of a Solid-state Drive

While the ubiquitous SSD shares many features with the hard-disk drive, under the surface they are completely different.

by Michael Cornwell | October 17, 2012


Disks from the Perspective of a File System

Disks lie. And the controllers that run them are partners in crime.

by Marshall Kirk McKusick | September 6, 2012


Keeping Bits Safe:
How Hard Can It Be?

As storage systems grow larger and larger, protecting their data for long-term storage is becoming more and more challenging.

by David S. H. Rosenthal | October 1, 2010


Triple-Parity RAID and Beyond

As hard-drive capacities continue to outpace their throughput, the time has come for a new level of RAID.

by Adam Leventhal | December 17, 2009


GFS: Evolution on Fast-forward

A discussion between Kirk McKusick and Sean Quinlan about the origin and evolution of the Google File System

by Marshall Kirk McKusick, Sean Quinlan | August 7, 2009


CTO Roundtable:
Storage Part II

Leaders in the storage industry ponder upcoming technologies and trends.

by Mache Creeger | January 8, 2009


CTO Roundtable:
Storage Part I

Leaders in the storage world offer valuable advice for making more effective architecture and technology decisions.

by Mache Creeger | December 4, 2008


The Five-Minute Rule 20 Years Later:
and How Flash Memory Changes the Rules

The old rule continues to evolve, while flash memory adds two new rules.

by Goetz Graefe | September 24, 2008


Enterprise SSDs

Solid-state drives are finally ready for the enterprise. But beware, not all SSDs are created alike.

by Mark Moshayedi, Patrick Wilkison | September 24, 2008


Flash Storage Today

Can flash memory become the foundation for a new tier in the storage hierarchy?

by Adam Leventhal | September 24, 2008


Flash Disk Opportunity for Server Applications

Future flash-based disks could provide breakthroughs in IOPS, power, reliability, and volumetric capacity when compared with conventional disks.

by Jim Gray, Bob Fitzgerald | September 24, 2008


A Pioneer's Flash of Insight

Jim Gray's vision of flash-based storage anchors this issue's theme.

by Bryan Cantrill | September 24, 2008


BASE: An Acid Alternative

In partitioned databases, trading some consistency for availability can lead to dramatic improvements in scalability.

by Dan Pritchett | July 28, 2008


The Emergence of iSCSI

Modern SCSI, as defined by the SCSI-3 Architecture Model, or SAM, really considers the cable and physical interconnections to storage as only one level in a larger hierarchy.

by Jeffrey S. Goldner | July 14, 2008


A New High-Performance Networked File System

This emerging file-access protocol dramatically enhances the flow of data over a network, making life easier in the data center.

by Steve Kleiman | July 14, 2008


Storage Virtualization Gets Smart

Over the past 20 years we have seen the transformation of storage from a dumb resource with fixed reliability, performance, and capacity to a much smarter resource that can actually play a role in how data is managed. In spite of the increasing capabilities of storage systems, however, traditional storage management models have made it hard to leverage these data management capabilities effectively. The net result has been overprovisioning and underutilization. In short, although the promise was that smart shared storage would simplify data management, the reality has been different.

by Kostadis Roussos | November 15, 2007


Hard Disk Drives:
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly!

HDDs (hard-disk drives) are like the bread in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich—sort of an unexciting piece of hardware necessary to hold the “software.” They are simply a means to an end. HDD reliability, however, has always been a significant weak link, perhaps the weak link, in data storage. In the late 1980s people recognized that HDD reliability was inadequate for large data storage systems so redundancy was added at the system level with some brilliant software algorithms, and RAID (redundant array of inexpensive disks) became a reality. RAID moved the reliability requirements from the HDD itself to the system of data disks.

by Jon Elerath | November 15, 2007


Standardizing Storage Clusters

Data-intensive applications such as data mining, movie animation, oil and gas exploration, and weather modeling generate and process huge amounts of data. File-data access throughput is critical for good performance. To scale well, these HPC (high-performance computing) applications distribute their computation among numerous client machines. HPC clusters can range from hundreds to thousands of clients with aggregate I/O demands ranging into the tens of gigabytes per second.

by Garth Goodson, Sai Susharla, Rahul Iyer | November 15, 2007


A Conversation with Jeff Bonwick and Bill Moore

This month ACM Queue speaks with two Sun engineers who are bringing file systems into the 21st century. Jeff Bonwick, CTO for storage at Sun, led development of the ZFS file system, which is now part of Solaris. Bonwick and his co-lead, Sun Distinguished Engineer Bill Moore, developed ZFS to address many of the problems they saw with current file systems, such as data integrity, scalability, and administration. In our discussion this month, Bonwick and Moore elaborate on these points and what makes ZFS such a big leap forward.

by John Stanik | November 15, 2007


A Conversation with Jim Gray

Sit down, turn off your cellphone, and prepare to be fascinated. Clear your schedule, because once you've started reading this interview, you won't be able to put it down until you've finished it.

July 31, 2003


Big Storage: Make or Buy?

We hear it all the time. The cost of disk space is plummeting.

by Josh Coates | July 31, 2003

CACM This article appears in print in Communications of the ACM, Volume 1 Issue 4


Storage Systems:
Not Just a Bunch of Disks Anymore

The sheer size and scope of data available today puts tremendous pressure on storage systems to perform in ways never imagined.

by Erik Riedel | July 31, 2003


You Don't Know Jack about Disks

Whatever happened to cylinders and tracks?

by Dave Anderson | July 31, 2003