Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Solid State Memory for Archival Use

In last year's JCDL keynote I pointed to work at Carnegie-Mellon on FAWN, the Fast Array of Wimpy Nodes and suggested that the cost savings FAWN realizes by distributing computation across a very large number of very low-power nodes might also apply to storage. Now, Ian Adams and Ethan Miller of UC Santa Cruz's Storage Systems Research Center and I have looked at this possibility more closely in a Technical Report entitled Using Storage Class Memory for Archives with DAWN, a Durable Array of Wimpy Nodes. We show that it is indeed plausible that, even at current flash memory prices, the total cost of ownership over the long term of a storage system built from very low-power system-on-chip technology and flash memory would be competitive with disk. More on this below the fold.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Amazon's Outage

I've been looking at the problems of specifying, measuring and auditing (PDF) the reliability of storage technologies since 2006. When I heard that Amazon's recent outage had lost customer's data I hoped that I could use this example as an Awful Warning that my Cassandra-like prophecies were coming true.

After some research, I can't claim that this is an example of the doom that awaits unsuspecting customers. But the outage and data loss does illustrate a number of interesting aspects of cloud storage. Details below the fold.