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The TickerTAIP Parallel RAID Architecture

Cao, Pei; Lim, Swee Boon; Venkataraman, Shivakumar; Wilkes, John

HPL-92-151

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Abstract: Traditional RAID arrays have a centralized architecture, with a single controller through which all requests flow. Such a controller is a single point of failure, and its performance limits the maximum size that the array can grow to. We describe here TickerTAIP, a parallel architecture for RAID arrays that distributes the controller functions across several loosely-coupled processors. The result is better scalability, fault tolerance, and flexibility. This paper presents the TickerTAIP architecture and an evaluation of its behavior. We demonstrate the feasibility by an existence proof; describe a family of distributed algorithms for RAID parity calculation; discuss techniques for establishing request atomicity, sequencing and recovery; and provide a performance evaluation of the TickerTAIP design space in both absolute terms and by comparison to a centralized RAID implementation. We conclude that the TickerTAIP architectural approach is feasible, useful, and effective.

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