A Lightweight, GPU-Based Software RAID System

Matthew L. Curry, H. Lee Ward, Anthony Skjellum, Ron Brightwell
Dept. of Comput. & Inf. Sci., Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA
39th International Conference on Parallel Processing (ICPP), 2010


   title={A Lightweight, GPU-Based Software RAID System},

   author={Curry, M.L. and Ward, H.L. and Skjellum, A. and Brightwell, R.},

   booktitle={2010 39th International Conference on Parallel Processing},





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While RAID is the prevailing method of creating reliable secondary storage infrastructure, many users desire more flexibility than offered by current implementations. Traditionally, RAID capabilities have been implemented largely in hardware in order to achieve the best performance possible, but hardware RAID has rigid designs that are costly to change. Software implementations are much more flexible, but software RAID has historically been viewed as much less capable of high throughput than hardware RAID controllers. This work presents a system, Gibraltar RAID, that attains high RAID performance by offloading the calculations related to error correcting codes to GPUs. This paper describes the architecture, performance, and qualities of the system. A comparison to a well-known software RAID implementation, the md driver included with the Linux operating system, is presented. While this work is presented in the context of high performance computing, these findings also apply to a general RAID market.
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