Abstract

The increasing popularity of cloud storage is leading organizations to consider moving data out of their own data centers and into the cloud. However, success for cloud storage providers can present a significant risk to customers; namely, it becomes very expensive to switch storage providers. In this paper, we make a case for applying RAID-like techniques used by disks and file systems, but at the cloud storage level. We argue that striping user data across multiple providers can allow customers to avoid vendor lock-in, reduce the cost of switching providers, and better tolerate provider outages or failures. We introduce RACS, a proxy that transparently spreads the storage load over many providers. We evaluate a prototype of our system and estimate the costs incurred and benefits reaped. Finally, we use trace-driven simulations to demonstrate how RACS can reduce the cost of switching storage vendors for a large organization such as the Internet Archive by seven-fold or more by varying erasure-coding parameters.