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Using idle disks in a cluster as a high-performance storage system

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2 Author(s)
Hansen, J.S. ; SARDES Project, SIRAC Lab., Grenoble, France ; Lachaize, R.

In many clusters today, the local disks of a node are only used sporadically. This paper describes the software support for sharing of disks in clusters, where the disks are distributed across the nodes in the cluster, thereby allowing them to be combined into a high-performance storage system. Compared to centralized storage servers, such an architecture allows the total I/O capacity of the cluster to scale up with the number of nodes and disks. Additionally, our software allows customizing the functionality of the remote disk access using a library of code modules. A prototype has been implemented on a cluster connected by a Scalable Coherent Interface (SCI) network and performance measurements using both raw device access and a distributed file system show that the performance is comparable to dedicated storage systems and that the overhead of the framework is moderate even during high load. Thus, the prospects are that clusters sharing disks distributed among the nodes will allow both the application processing power and total I/O capacity of the cluster to scale up with the number of nodes.

Published in:

Cluster Computing, 2002. Proceedings. 2002 IEEE International Conference on

Date of Conference:

2002