A Cost-Effective, High-Bandwidth Storage Architecture

Appears in the Proceedings of the 8th Conference on Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems, 1998.

Garth A. Gibson*, Dave F. Nagle^, Khalil Amiri^, Jeff Butler^, Fay W. Chang*, Howard Gobioff*, Charles Hardin^,
Erik Riedel^, David Rochberg*, Jim Zelenka*

School of Computer Science*
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering^
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213


This paper describes the Network-Attached Secure Disk (NASD) storage architecture, prototype implementations of NASD drives, array management for our architecture, and three filesystems built on our prototype. NASD provides scalable storage bandwidth without the cost of servers used primarily for transferring data from peripheral networks (e.g. SCSI) to client networks (e.g. ethernet). Increasing dataset sizes, new attachment technologies, the convergence of peripheral and interprocessor switched networks, and the increased availability of on-drive transistors motivate and enable this new architecture. NASD is based on four main principles: direct transfer to clients, secure interfaces via cryptographic support, asynchronous non-critical-path oversight, and variably-sized data objects. Measurements of our prototype system show that these services can be cost-effectively integrated into a next generation disk drive ASIC. End-to-end measurements of our prototype drive and filesystems suggest that NASD can support conventional distributed filesystems without performance degradation. More importantly, we show scalable bandwidth for NASD-specialized filesystems. Using a parallel data mining application, NASD drives deliver a linear scaling of 6.2 MB/s per client-drive pair, tested with up to eight pairs in our lab.

FULL PAPER: pdf / postscript




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