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July 23, 2012

Mtg: Implementation of RAID Types of Architectures for Solid State Devices: Challenges and Solutions

by @ 10:21 am. Filed under ALL, Computers/Software, Electronics Design, Semiconductors

WEDNESDAY July 25, 2012
SCV Information Theory Chapter
Speaker: Dr. Mario Blaum, IBM Almaden Research Center
Time: Networking and food at 5:30 PM; Presentation at 6:00 PM
Cost: none
Place: Room 202, Packard Bldg, Stanford University, Stanford
RSVP: not required

Redundant Arrays of Inexpensive Disks (RAID) types of architectures have been widely used for arrays of Hard Disk Drives or HDDs.? For example, RAID 5 allows for recovery of up to one failed disk using single parity, while RAID 6 allows for recovery of up to two failed disks using a Maximum Distance Separable (MDS) code (like Reed-Solomon, EVENODD, RDP or other options).
The problem is more involved when we have an array of Solid State Devices or SSDs (like flash memories).? In effect, contrary to HDDs, sectors in SSDs decay with time and with the number of writes.? For that reason, hard errors, in which the internal error-correcting code (ECC) of a sector is exceeded, may be pervasive.? If, for instance, a RAID 5 architecture is being used and one of the SSDs experiences a catastrophic failure, the data in the lost SSD is recovered by XORing, sector by sector, the surviving SSDs.? However, if one of those surviving sectors had a hard error, data loss will occur.? Implementing RAID 6 may solve this problem but, depending on the statistics of hard errors, this approach may be excessive.
I will address some possible solutions to this problem by using a new family of codes, Partial Maximum Distance Separable (PMDS) codes.? The idea of PMDS codes is to deal with this mixed environment of catastrophic and hard errors.? I will try to give some intuition on the codes without going too much into mathematical intricacies.? Previous knowledge of error and erasure correcting codes, like MDS codes, will help, but I will try to make the talk as self-contained as possible.

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