Data storage demands are growing faster than the Internet itself. Factors driving storage growth include large-scale Internet services and content distribution, digital audio and video, 3D graphics and visualization, and new sources of high-volume data in scientific and commercial domains.

The Slice project explores techniques for building unified massive-data storage systems from inexpensive components connected by a high-speed network. Here are some of the project's goals and premises:

The Slice file service is implemented as a set of loadable kernel modules in the FreeBSD operating system. A Slice is configured as a combination of server modules that handle specific file system functions: directory management, raw block storage, efficient storage of small files, and network caching. Servers may be added as needed to scale different components of the request stream independently, to handle a range of data-intensive and metadata-intensive workloads. Slice is designed to be compatible with standard NFS clients, using an interposed network-level packet translator to mediate between each client and an array of servers presenting a unified file system view.



Slice is supported by the National Science Foundation (through awards CCR-96-24857, EIA-9972879, and EIA-9870724), and by Intel Corporation through the Education 2000 initiative. Chase and Vahdat are supported by NSF CAREER Young Investigator awards.