Glass: A New Media for a New Era?


Patrick Anderson and Richard Black, Microsoft Research; Ausra Cerkauskaite, University of Southampton; Andromachi Chatzieleftheriou, James Clegg, Chris Dainty, Raluca Diaconu, Rokas Drevinskas, Austin Donnelly, Alexander L. Gaunt, Andreas Georgiou, and Ariel Gomez Diaz, Microsoft Research; Peter G. Kazansky, University of Southampton; David Lara, Sergey Legtchenko, Sebastian Nowozin, Aaron Ogus, Douglas Phillips, and Antony Rowstron, Microsoft Research; Masaaki Sakakura, University of Southampton; Ioan Stefanovici and Benn Thomsen, Microsoft Research; Lei Wang, University of Southampton; Hugh Williams and Mengyang Yang, Microsoft Research


In the foreseeable future, major cloud vendors will need to store multiple zettabytes of data in their cloud storage infrastructure. Like all storage, cloud storage systems need to trade performance for cost, and they currently achieve this by using storage tiers backed by different storage media. The ultimate goal for cloud storage would be to provide zero-cost storage with low access latencies and high throughput. But all the storage media being deployed in the cloud today were created before the cloud existed, and were designed to support many usage scenarios. With cloud storage, the focus is on cost, and storage needs to be designed to be right-provisionable. The limits of what is possible with existing storage technologies are being reached, and a new clean-slate approach is needed for cloud storage. Hence, the time is right to seek out a new physical media to underpin novel storage systems designed exclusively to support the cloud. In Project Silica, Microsoft Research and Southampton University, are exploring whether quartz glass could be the future media for mass storage in the cloud. In this paper, we describe the basis for the technology, and discuss conventional assumptions about storage that we are challenging in Project Silica.

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@inproceedings {216870,
author = {Patrick Anderson and Richard Black and Ausra Cerkauskaite and Andromachi Chatzieleftheriou and James Clegg and Chris Dainty and Raluca Diaconu and Rokas Drevinskas and Austin Donnelly and Alexander L. Gaunt and Andreas Georgiou and Ariel Gomez Diaz and Peter G. Kazansky and David Lara and Sergey Legtchenko and Sebastian Nowozin and Aaron Ogus and Douglas Phillips and Antony Rowstron and Masaaki Sakakura and Ioan Stefanovici and Benn Thomsen and Lei Wang and Hugh Williams and Mengyang Yang},
title = {Glass: A New Media for a New Era?},
booktitle = {10th USENIX Workshop on Hot Topics in Storage and File Systems (HotStorage 18)},
year = {2018},
address = {Boston, MA},
url = {},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = jul