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Distributed storage systems often introduce redundancy to increase reliability. When coding is used, the repair problem arises: if a node storing encoded information fails, in order to maintain the same level of reliability we need to create encoded information at a new node. This amounts to a partial recovery of the code, whereas conventional erasure coding focuses on the complete recovery of the information from a subset of encoded packets. The consideration of the repair network traffic gives rise to new design challenges. Recently, network coding techniques have been instrumental in addressing these challenges, establishing that maintenance bandwidth can be reduced by orders of magnitude compared to standard erasure codes. This paper provides an overview of the research results on this topic.
Date of Publication: March 2011