StripeFinder: Erasure Coding of Small Objects Over Key-Value Storage Devices (An Uphill Battle)


Umesh Maheshwari, Chiku Research


Emerging key-value storage devices are promising because they rid the storage stack of the intervening block namespace and reduce IO amplification. However, pushing the key-value interface down to the device level creates a challenge: erasure coding must be performed over key-value namespaces.

We expose a fundamental problem in employing parity-based erasure coding over key-value namespaces. Namely, the system must store a lot of per-stripe metadata that includes the keys of all objects in the stripe. Furthermore, this metadata must be find-able using the key of each object in the stripe.

A state-of-the-art design, KVMD, does not quantify this metadata overhead. We clarify that, when storing D data and P parity objects, KVMD stores DxP metadata objects, each of which stores D+P object keys. This nullifies the benefit of parity coding over replication in object count. For small objects, it might also nullify the benefit in byte count; e.g., to protect 256~byte objects with 16~byte keys against two failures (P=2), KVMD would cause byte amplification of 2.8x (D=4) and 3.3x (D=8) vs. 3x with plain replication.

We present an optimized version, StripeFinder, that reduces the metadata byte count by a factor of D and the metadata object count by a configurable factor; e.g., to protect 256~byte objects against two failures (P=2), StripeFinder reduces byte amplification to 2.2x (D=4) and 1.9x (D=8). However, StripeFinder does not provide enough savings for 128~byte objects to justify its complexity over replication. Ultimately, parity coding of small objects over key-value devices is an uphill battle, and tiny objects are best replicated.

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@inproceedings {254284,
author = {Umesh Maheshwari},
title = {StripeFinder: Erasure Coding of Small Objects Over Key-Value Storage Devices (An Uphill Battle)},
booktitle = {12th {USENIX} Workshop on Hot Topics in Storage and File Systems (HotStorage 20)},
year = {2020},
url = {},
publisher = {{USENIX} Association},
month = jul,

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