FAST 2002 Abstract
Obtaining High Performance for Storage Outsourcing
Wee Teck Ng, Bruce Hillyer, Elizabeth Shriver, Eran Gabber, Banu Özden,
Information Sciences Research Center,
Storage outsourcing is an emerging industry that shields storage users from the complexity of in-house
storage management, while providing cost savings and reliability improvements via the aggregation of
storage into large, special-purpose facilities. These distributed and replicated facilities are operated by a
storage service provider, and are accessed by remote users via high-speed network connections.
The viability of storage outsourcing is critically dependent on the performance of remote storage. In this
paper, we measure the performance of I/O benchmarks accessing a remote block-level storage system. We
use benchmarks that represent a variety of workloads, running on several operating systems and file
systems. Network latencies represent distances ranging from a local neighborhood to halfway across a
continent. We vary the network loss characteristics to correspond with the conditions of either dedicated
fiber or shared Internet (with loss rates up to 10 -3 ). We examine the effectiveness of basic latency-hiding
techniques such as caching, application prefetching, and asynchronous writes. We conclude that remote
storage is already viable for a wide variety of active workloads, and we point out areas where new
techniques could provide significant additional performance enhancement.
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