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Colloquium - Thekkath

Distributed Storage Systems: Hints for Building Them When You Can't Avoid Them
Microsoft Research

It is often preferable to build a storage service out of a collection of individual components rather than out of a single monolithic server. The reasons for preferring such a structure are increased fault-tolerance, scalability, and economics. However, the distributed nature of the system can make it complex to design, difficult to implement, and nearly impossible to test making the whole enterprise a daunting one.

One of the ways of reducing the complexity of distributed storage systems is to first design a set of simple abstractions and services that can then be composed easily to provide the required functionality. The talk will illustrate examples of this technique with reference to some systems -- Petal '96, Frangipani '97, Boxwood '04, and Eclipse '05 -- on which I have worked. These systems demonstrate that it is feasible to build complex storage systems using a set of building blocks that are easy to design, implement, and test.

Chandu Thekkath has a long history in storage, computer systems and distributed systems research. His early work on Petal and Frangipani at DEC-SRC labs in Palo Alto laid the foundation for "brick based" storage systems. He has continued that work at the Microsoft Research Silicon Valley Labs.

Sponsored by the Colorado Center for Information Storage.

Department of Computer Science
University of Colorado Boulder
Boulder, CO 80309-0430 USA
May 5, 2012 (14:13)