RAPID-cache - A reliable and inexpensive write cache for disk I/O systems

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This paper presents a new cache architecture called RAPID-Cache for Redundant, Asymmetrically Parallel, and Inexpensive Disk Cache. A typical RAPID-Cache consists of two redundant write buffers on top of a disk system. One of the buffers is a primary cache made of RAM or NVRAM and the other is a backup cache containing a two level hierarchy: a small NVRAM buffer on top of a log disk[1]. The backup cache has nearly equivalent write performance as the primary RAM cache, while the read performance of the backup cache is not as critical because normal read operations are performed through the primary RAM cache and reads from the backup cache happen only during error recovery periods. The RAPID-Cache presents an asymmetric architecture with a fast-write-fastread RAM being a primary cache and a fast-write-slow-read NVRAM-disk hierarchy being a backup cache. The asymmetric cache architecture allows cost-effective designs for very large write caches for high-end disk I/O systems that would otherwise have to use dual-copy, costly NVRAM caches. It also makes it possible to implement reliable write caching for low-end disk I/O systems since the RAPID-Cache makes use of inexpensive disks to perform reliable caching. Our analysis and trace-driven simulation results show that the RAPID-Cache has significant reliability/cost advantages over conventional single NVRAM write caches and has great cost advantages over dual-copy NVRAM caches. The RAPID-Cache architecture opens a new dimension for disk system designers to exercise trade-offs among performance, reliability and cost.

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High Performance Mass Storage and Parallel I/O: Technologies and Applications