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Network World - Most corporations use relatively isolated and expensive disk subsystems for primary storage, and they protect this data with tape back-up systems that are stored offsite for disaster-recovery purposes.
A new storage system architecture called Redundant Array of Inexpensive Nodes (RAIN) surpasses this traditional storage architecture by offering data-storage and protection systems that are more distributed, shareable and scalable. RAIN systems also are less expensive than traditional systems.
RAIN is an open architecture approach that combines standard, off-the-shelf computing and networking hardware with highly intelligent management software. This combination lets a host of storage and data-protection applications be cost-effectively deployed across a grid of devices that are highly available and self-healing.
RAIN-based storage and protection systems consist of:
The management software creates virtual pools of storage and protection capacity without administrative intervention. It also manages all recovery operations related to one or more RAIN nodes becoming unavailable because of RAIN node or network failures. RAIN nodes do not require immediate replacement upon component failure because lost data is automatically replicated among the surviving RAIN nodes in the grid.
A grid of RAIN nodes also can adapt to changing application workloads by load-balancing data across nodes based on utilization or storage capacity.
In a RAIN-based storage system, each RAIN node regularly checks all its own files. The combination of hundreds of RAIN nodes forms a powerful parallel data-management grid - one that is much more powerful than today's independent protection architectures. When file corruption is detected, the associated RAIN node initiates a replication request to all other RAIN nodes, which verify their own replicas and work collectively to replace the defective file.