ACM Transactions on Storage

Storage optimization for large-scale distributed stream-processing systems

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We consider storage in an extremely large-scale distributed computer system designed for stream processing applications. In such systems, both incoming data and intermediate results may need to be stored to enable analyses at unknown future times. The quantity of data of potential use would dominate even the largest storage system. Thus, a mechanism is needed to keep the data most likely to be used. One recently introduced approach is to employ retention value functions, which effectively assign each data object a value that changes over time in a prespecified way [Douglis et al.2004]. Storage space for data entering the system is reclaimed automatically by deleting data of the lowest current value. In such large systems, there will naturally be multiple file systems available, each with different properties. Choosing the right file system for a given incoming stream of data presents a challenge. In this article we provide a novel and effective scheme for optimizing the placement of data within a distributed storage subsystem employing retention value functions. The goal is to keep the data of highest overall value, while simultaneously balancing the read load to the file system. The key aspects of such a scheme are quite different from those that arise in traditional file assignment problems. We further motivate this optimization problem and describe a solution, comparing its performance to other reasonable schemes via simulation experiments. © 2008 ACM.