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9th Workshop on Hot Topics in Operating Systems (HotOS IX) — Abstract

Palimpsest: Soft-Capacity Storage for Planetary-Scale Services

Timothy Roscoe, Intel Research at Berkeley; Steven Hand, University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory


Distributed writable storage systems typically provide NFS-like semantics and unbounded persistence for files. We claim that for planetary-scale distributed services such facilities are unnecessary and impose an unwanted overhead in complexity and ease of management. Furthermore, wide-area services have requirements not met by existing solutions, in particular capacity management and a realistic model for billing and charging.

We argue for ephemeral storage systems which meet these requirements, and present Palimpsest, an early example being deployed on PlanetLab. Palimpsest is small and simple, yet provides soft capacity, congestion-based pricing, automatic reclamation of space, and a security model suitable for a shared storage facility for wide-area services. It does not "fill up" in the way that an ordinary filing system does. In fact, Palimpsest does not arbitrate resources—storage blocks—between clients at all.

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Last changed: 24 July 2003 aw
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