Feeds

MIT scientists craft a storage system fit for THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE

BlueDBM tackles storage network gremlins with FPGAs

Top three mobile application threats

Distributed file systems may be cheap to run, but their performance can be atrocious when the network becomes saturated, and some boffins are hoping to change this so to better simulate our universe.

MIT researchers have tried to solve the network saturation problems bought about by SSD-loaded distributed storage systems with a new approach named BlueDBM, and hope the approach will give scientists a boost when running complex simulations.

One potential application of the BlueDBM system is speeding a University of Washington simulation of the universe.

"Scientists need to query this rather enormous dataset to track which particles are interacting with which other particles, but running those kind of queries is time-consuming,” MIT Sang-Woo Jun told MIT News. "We hope to provide a real-time interface that scientists can use to look at the information more easily."

This tech sees the boffins sit field-programmable gate arrays (FPGA) between the host computer and the storage, and lash them together via their own network. The result is a low-latency, high bandwidth, scalable storage system that has an order of magnitude greater performance than Microsoft's rival "CORFU" system [PDF].

The secret to this performance increase is the combination of PCIe-based flash storage with a storage controller implemented on an FPGA that is linked to all other controllers by multi-gigabit low latency serial links with a SERialize/DESerializer (SERDES) function that is implemented directly within each FPGA.

By doing this "each node is able to access remote storage with negligible performance degradation," they write. "Not only does the controller-to-controller network provide pooling of storage capacity, but it also allows combining the throughput of all nodes on the network, resulting in linear throughput scaling with more nodes."

When the MIT boffins evaluated a four-node implementation of the BlueDBM system they found it had a zippy network with an average packet latency of around 0.5 microseconds.

"Considering that the typical latency of a flash read is several tens of microseconds requests in our network can, in theory, traverse dozens of nodes before the network latency becomes a significant portion of the storage read latency," they write in the Scalable Multi-Access Flash Store for Big Data Analytics paper [PDF].

From he perspective of an end-user, the prototype BlueDBM system has "has an average latency to client applications of about 70 microseconds, which is an order of magnitude lower than existing distributed flash systems," they write.

More information on the system will be available in late February, when the researchers present their paper at the FPGA 2014 summit in Monterrey, California. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Kingston DataTraveler MicroDuo: Turn your phone into a 72GB beast
USB-usiness in the front, micro-USB party in the back
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Inside the Hekaton: SQL Server 2014's database engine deconstructed
Nadella's database sqares the circle of cheap memory vs speed
BOFH: Oh DO tell us what you think. *CLICK*
$%%&amp Oh dear, we've been cut *CLICK* Well hello *CLICK* You're breaking up...
Just what could be inside Dropbox's new 'Home For Life'?
Biz apps, messaging, photos, email, more storage – sorry, did you think there would be cake?
AMD's 'Seattle' 64-bit ARM server chips now sampling, set to launch in late 2014
But they won't appear in SeaMicro Fabric Compute Systems anytime soon
Amazon reveals its Google-killing 'R3' server instances
A mega-memory instance that never forgets
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.