This article is from the storage FAQ part2, by Rodney D. Van Meter with numerous contributions by others.
NAME: comp.arch.storage STATUS: unmoderated DESCRIPTION: storage system issues, both software and hardware CHARTER: To facilitate and encourage communication among people interested in computer storage systems. The scope of the discussions would include issues relevant to all types of computer storage systems, both hardware and software. The general emphasis here is on open storage systems as opposed to platform specific products or proprietary hardware from a particular vendor. Such vendor specific discussions might belong in comp.sys.xxx or comp.periphs. Many of these questions are at the research, architectural, and design levels today, but as more general storage system products enter the market, discussions may expand into "how to use" type questions. RATIONALE: As processors become faster and faster, a major bottleneck in computing becomes access to storage services: the hardware - disk, tape, optical, solid-state disk, robots, etc., and the software - uniform and convenient access to storage hardware. A far too true comment is that "A supercomputer is a machine that converts a compute-bound problem into an I/O-bound problem." As supercomputer performance reaches desktops, we all experience the problems of: o hot processor chips strapped onto anemic I/O architectures o incompatable storage systems that require expensive systems integration gurus to integrate and maintain o databases that are intimately bound into the quirks of an operating system for performance o applications that are unable to obtain guarantees on when their data and/or metadata is on stable storage o cheap tape libraries and robots that are under-utilized because software for migration and caching to disk is not readily available o nightmares in writing portable applications that attempt to access tape volumes This group will be a forum for discussions on storage topics including the following: >1. commercial products - OSF Distributed File System (DFS) based on Andrew, Epoch Infinite Storage Manager and Renaissance, Auspex NS5000 NFS server, Legato PrestoServer, AT&T Veritas, OSF Logical Volume Manager, DISCOS UniTree, etc. >2. storage strategies from major vendors - IBM System Managed Storage, HP Distributed Information Storage Architecture and StoragePlus, DEC Digital Storage Architecture (DSA), Distributed Heterogeneous Storage Management (DHSM), Hierarchical Storage Controllers, and Mass Storage Control Protocol (MSCP) >3. IEEE 1244 Storage Systems Standards Working Group >4. ANSI X3B11.1 and Rock Ridge WORM file system standards groups >5. emerging standard high-speed (100 MB/sec and up) interconnects to storage systems: HIPPI, Fiber Channel Standard, etc. >6. POSIX supercomputing and batch committees' work on storage volumes and tape mounts >7. magnetic tape semantics ("Unix tape support is an oxymoron.") >8. physical volume management - volume naming, mount semantics, enterprise-wide tracking of cartridges, etc. >9. models for tape robots and optical jukeboxes - SCSI-2, etc. >10. designs for direct network-attached storage (storage as black box) >11. backup and archiving strategies >12. raw storage services (i.e., raw byte strings) vs. management of structured data types (e.g. directories, database records,...) >13. storage services for efficient database support >14. storage server interfaces, e.g., OSF/1 Logical Volume Manager >15. object server and browser technology, e.g. Berkeley's Sequoia 2000 >16. separation of control and data paths for high performance by removing the control processor from the data path; this eliminates the requirements for expensive I/O capable (i.e., mainframe) control processors >17. operating system-independent file system design >18. SCSI-3 proposal for a flat file system built into the disk drive >19. client applications which bypass/ignore file systems: virtual memory, databases, mail, hypertext, etc. >20. layered access to storage services - How low level do we want device control? How to support sophisticated, high performance applications that need to bypass the file abstraction? >21. migration and caching of storage objects in a distributed hierarchy of media types >22. management of replicated storage objects (differences/similarities to migration?) >23. optimization of placement of storage objects vs. location transparency and independence >24. granularity of replication - file system, file, segment, record, etc., >25. storage systems management - What information does an administrator need to manage a large, distributed storage system? >26. security issues - Who do you trust when your storage is directly networked? >27. RAID array architectures, including RADD (Redundant Arrays of Distributed Disks) and Berkeley RAID-II HIPPI systems >28. architectures and problems for tape arrays - striped tape systems >29. stable storage algorithm of Lampson and Sturgis for critical metadata >30. How can cheap MIPS and RAM help storage? - HP DataMesh, write-only disk caches, non-volatile caches, etc. >31. support for multi-media or integrated digital continuous media (audio, video, other realtime data streams) This group will serve as a forum for the discussion of issues which do not easily fit into the more tightly focused discussions in various existing newsgroups. The issues are much broader than Unix (comp.1.*, comp.os.*), as they transcend operating systems in general. Distributed computer systems of the future will offer standard network storage services; what operating system(s) they use (if any) will be irrelevant to their clients. The peripheral groups (comp.periphs, comp.periphs.scsi) are too hardware oriented for these topics. Several of these topics involve active standards groups but several storage system issues are research topics in distributed systems. In general, the standards newsgroups (comp.std.xxx) are too narrowly focused for these discussions.