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IBM Intelligent Bricks project—Petabytes and beyond

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24 Author(s)
Wilcke, W.W. ; IBM Research Division, Almaden Research Center, 650 Harry Road, San Jose, California 95120, USA ; Garner, R.B. ; Fleiner, C. ; Freitas, R.F.
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This paper provides an overview of the Intelligent Bricks project in progress at IBM Research. It describes common problems faced by data center operators and proposes a comprehensive solution based on brick architectures. Bricks are hardware building blocks. Because of certain properties, defined here, scalable and reliable systems can be built with collections of identical bricks. An important feature is that brick-based systems must survive the failure of any brick without requiring human intervention, as long as most bricks are operational. This simplifies system management and allows very dense and very scalable systems to be built. A prototype storage server in the form of a 3 × 3 × 3 array of bricks, capable of storing 26 TB, is operational at the IBM Almaden Research Center. It successfully demonstrates the concepts of the Intelligent Bricks architecture. The paper describes this implementation of brick architectures based on newly developed communication and cooling technologies, the software developed, and techniques for building very reliable systems from low-cost bricks, and it discusses the performance and the future of intelligent brick systems.

Note: The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Incorporated is distributing this Article with permission of the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) who is the exclusive owner. The recipient of this Article may not assign, sublicense, lease, rent or otherwise transfer, reproduce, prepare derivative works, publicly display or perform, or distribute the Article.  

Published in:

IBM Journal of Research and Development  (Volume:50 ,  Issue: 2.3 )