Using Simulation to Design Scalable and Cost-Efficient Archival Storage Systems

Appeared in Proceedings of the 26th IEEE International Symposium on the Modeling, Analysis, and Simulation of Computer and Telecommunication Systems (MASCOTS 2018).

Abstract

The need for reliable and cost-effective data storage grows as digital information becomes increasingly ubiquitous. Archival systems must store valuable data for years while adapting to changing user needs, capacity, and performance requirements. Storage devices differ in terms of performance, capacity, reliability, acquisition cost, power consumption, and the rates at which their features change over time. As a result, choosing the best storage technology to use for an archive has become increasingly challenging with the proliferation of new technologies alongside existing ones. We have designed a simulator that models the capacity, performance, acquisition cost, and power cost of an archival system using the characteristics of the drives and media that comprise it. We simulate and compare four storage technologies that exhibit different cost and performance characteristics: tape, optical disc, hard disk, and NAND flash SSD. We evaluate the total cost of ownership for each storage technology within an archival system, and we explore the effect that prospective technological advancements and growth rates over time may have on the relative cost and viability of each storage technology for archival systems. We show that the lifecycle and upgrade cost of drives are significant cost factors for removable media archives. We observe that increasing performance requires adding more drives to an archival system, and the cost of each drive dominates the cost to increase performance. We compare trends in storage technologies to suggest developments that could minimize the long-term total cost of ownership for archival systems. We show that hard disks and flash could become cost-competitive with tape-based archives by adopting new designs to minimize infrastructure and electricity costs.

Publication date:
September 2018

Authors:
James Byron
Darrell D. E. Long
Ethan L. Miller

Projects:
Archival Storage

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Bibtex entry

@inproceedings{byron18-mascots,
  author       = {James Byron and Darrell D. E. Long and Ethan L. Miller},
  title        = {Using Simulation to Design Scalable and Cost-Efficient Archival
Storage Systems},
  booktitle = {Proceedings of the 26th IEEE International Symposium on the
Modeling, Analysis, and Simulation of Computer and
Telecommunication Systems (MASCOTS 2018)},
  month        = sep,
  year         = {2018},
}
Last modified 1 Nov 2018