Tuesday, 19 December 2006


Lots of people are talking about how we need a new way to protect our data and that RAID has had it. Agreed, going RAID6 gives some benefits (i.e. puts off the inevitable failure by a factor again), however the single problem to my mind with RAID today is the need to read all the other disks when a real failure occurs. Dave over at Netapp once calculated the risk of re-reading all those disks in terms of the chance of a hard failure.

The problem is, the drive is not involved in the rebuild process - it dumbly responds to the request from the controller to re-read all the data. What we need are more intelligent drives combined with more intelligent controllers; for example; why not have multiple interfaces to a single HDD? Use a hybrid drive with more onboard memory to cache reads while the heads are moving to obtain real data requests. Store that data in memory on the drive to be used for drive rebuilds. Secondly, why do we need to store all the data for all rebuilds across all drives? Why with a disk array of 16 drives can't we run multiple instances of 6+2 RAID across different sections of the drive?

I'd love to be the person who patents the next version of RAID....

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