Differential RAID: Rethinking RAID for SSD Reliability

  • Asim Kadav
  • Mahesh Balakrishnan
  • Vijayan Prabhakaran
  • Dahlia Malkhi

HotStorage 2009: 1st Workshop on Hot Topics in Storage and File Systems |

Published by Association for Computing Machinery, Inc.

(best paper award.)

Deployment of SSDs in enterprise settings is limited by the low erase cycles available on commodity devices. Redundancy solutions such as RAID can potentially be used to protect against the high Bit Error Rate (BER) of aging SSDs. Unfortunately, such solutions wear out redundant devices at similar rates, inducing correlated failures as arrays age in unison. We present Diff-RAID, a new RAID variant that distributes parity unevenly across SSDs to create age disparities within arrays. By doing so, Diff-RAID balances the high BER of old SSDs against the low BER of young SSDs. Diff-RAID provides much greater reliability for SSDs compared to RAID-4 and RAID-5 for the same space overhead, and offers a trade-off curve between throughput and reliability.