UW-Madison Logo

The ADvanced Systems Laboratory (ADSL)
Publication abstract

Deconstructing Storage Arrays

Timothy E. Denehy, John Bent, Florentina I. Popovici, Andrea C. Arpaci-Dusseau, Remzi H. Arpaci-Dusseau
Department of Computer Sciences , University of Wisconsin-Madison


We introduce Shear, a user-level software tool that characterizes RAID storage arrays. Shear employs a set of controlled algorithms combined with statistical techniques to automatically determine the important properties of a RAID system, including the number of disks, chunk size, level of redundancy, and layout scheme. We illustrate the correctness of Shear by running it upon numerous simulated configurations, and then verify its real-world applicability by running Shear on both software-based and hardware-based RAID systems. Finally, we demonstrate the utility of Shear through three case studies. First, we show how Shear can be used in a storage management environment to verify RAID construction and detect failures. Second, we demonstrate how Shear can be used to extract detailed characteristics about the individual disks within an array. Third, we show how an operating system can use Shear to automatically tune its storage subsystems to specific RAID configurations.

Full Paper: Postscript   PDF   BibTeX