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Recent gains in communication speeds motivate the design of network storage systems whose performance tracks the rapid advances in network technology rather than the slower rate of advances in disk technology. Viewing the network as the primary access path to I/O is an attractive approach to building incrementally scalable, cost-effective, and easy-to-administer storage systems that move data at network speeds.

This paper gives an overview of research on high-speed network storage in the Trapeze project. Our work is directed primarily at delivering gigabit-per-second performance for network storage access, using custom firmware for Myrinet networks, a lightweight messaging system optimized for block I/O traffic, and a new kernel storage layer incorporating network memory and parallel disks. Our current prototype is capable of client file access bandwidths approaching 100 MB/s, with network memory fetch latencies below 150$\mu$s for 8KB blocks.

Jeff Chase