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Storage virtualization and data management are well known problems for individual users as well as large organizations. Existing storage-virtualization systems either do not support a complete set of possible storage types, do not provide flexible data-placement policies, or do not support per-file conversion (e.g., encryption). This results in suboptimal utilization of resources, inconvenience, low reliability, and poor performance. We have designed a stackable file system called redundant array of independent filesystems (RAIF). It combines the data survivability and performance benefits of traditional RAID with the flexibility of composition and ease of development of stackable file systems. RAIF can be mounted on top of directories and thus on top of any combination of network, distributed, disk-based, and memory-based file systems. Individual files can be replicated, striped, or stored with erasure-correction coding on any subset of the underlying file systems. RAIF has similar performance to RAID. In configurations with parity, RAIF's write performance is better than the performance of driver-level and even entry-level hardware RAID systems. This is because RAIF has better control over the data and parity caching.
Date of Conference: 24-27 Sept. 2007