Strata: A Cross Media File System

Abstract

Current hardware and application storage trends put immense pressure on the operating system’s storage subsystem. On the hardware side, the market for storage devices has diversified to a multi-layer storage topology spanning multiple orders of magnitude in cost and performance. Above the file system, applications increasingly need to process small, random IO on vast data sets with low latency, high throughput, and simple crash consistency. File systems designed for a single storage layer cannot support all of these demands together. We present Strata, a cross-media file system that leverages the strengths of one storage media to compensate for weaknesses of another. In doing so, Strata provides performance, capacity, and a simple, synchronous IO model all at once, while having a simpler design than that of file systems constrained by a single storage device. At its heart, Strata uses a log-structured approach with a novel split of responsibilities among user mode, kernel, and storage layers that separates the concerns of scalable, high-performance persistence from storage layer management. We quantify the performance benefits of strata using a 3-layer storage hierarchy of emulated NVM, a flash-based SSD, and a high-density HDD. Strata has 20-30% better latency and throughput, across several unmodified applications, compared to file systems purpose-built for each layer, while providing synchronous and unified access to the entire storage hierarchy. Finally, Strata achieves up to 2.8x better throughput than a block-based 2-layer cache provided by Linux’s logical volume manager.

Publication
ACM Symposium on Operating Systems Principles (SOSP) 2017 (accept rate : 39232 = 16.8%)
Date
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