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USENIX Technical Program - Abstract - USENIX Annual Conference, General Session - June 2000

Towards Availability Benchmarks: A Case Study of Software RAID Systems

Aaron Brown and David A. Patterson, University of California at Berkeley


Benchmarks have historically played a key role in guiding the progress of computer science systems research and development, but have traditionally neglected the areas of availability, maintainability, and evolutionary growth, areas that have recently become critically important in high-end system design. As a first step in addressing this deficiency, we introduce a general methodology for benchmarking the availability of computer systems. Our methodology uses fault injection to provoke situations where availability may be compromised, leverages existing performance benchmarks for workload generation and data collection, and can produce results in both detail-rich graphical presentations or in distilled numerical summaries. We apply the methodology to measure the availability of the software RAID systems shipped with Linux, Solaris 7 Server, and Windows 2000 Server, and find that the methodology is powerful enough not only to quantify the impact of various failure conditions on the availability of these systems, but also to unearth their design philosophies with respect to transient errors and recovery policy.

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Last changed: 6 Feb 2002 ml
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