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A device to log the usage characteristics of a consumer grade device in the enterprise storage environment Disclosure Number: IPCOM000031307D
Original Publication Date: 2004-Sep-21
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2004-Sep-21
Document File: 2 page(s) / 54K

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A device to log the usage characteristics of a consumer grade device in the enterprise storage environment

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A device to log the usage characteristics of a consumer grade device in the enterprise storage environment

There is a move towards the introduction of consumer-grade SATA drives into the enterprise storage environment, alongside traditional enterprise-grade fibre-channel devices. This move is driven by the cost savings offered by these SATA drives, but is at the expense of reliability. Only limited reliability data is available for the SATA drives, and these figures are provided by the drive manufacturers. No independent field-data gathered from drives operating in genuine customer environments are available. It is noteworthy that the error logging features and PFA algorithms, common to enterprise-grade FC drives, are absent from these consumer-grade devices. Yet customer expectations for these drives are high, especially so as they are being marketed into an environment where storage reliability has been of paramount importance.

    There is the risk that customers install SATA drives into their existing storage environment, and treat them as they would a FC drive, thus using them outside of their operating specifications. Should a drive fail, and the customer demand a replacement under warrantee, there is no way of knowing whether the drive has been used within spec, and is thus a genuine failure. From the customer's perspective, it will be difficult to determine whether SATA drives are being used optimally, especially in configurations containing a mix of SATA and FC drives.

    This invention presents a device to log the usage and performance characteristics of a consumer-grade SATA disk drive. The implementation can be either a physical interposer, attached to the SATA interface of the drive, or a logging software component in the controller layer. The interposer is the preferred option, as it will be invisible to the storage controller, and will remain with the drive should the system be reconfigured. The interposer will contain a processor, memory, and non-volatile storage. The drive usage pattern will be recorded in NVS.

The collected data will have a number of uses:

In the event of a drive failure, accurate usage data for this drive can be analysed. This will allow for better modelling of drive reliability in a genuine customer environment, and can be used as the basis for implementing a PFA algorithm. The data will state unequivocally whether the drive has been used outside of the specifications (such as run too hot, or at too high a duty cycle), and is thus not covered by warrantee.

The data can analysed by the customer to assess how heavily the drive is being used. This would be of particular interest in a heterogeneous configuration, as it would allow the customer to replace heavily used SATA drives with FC ones.

As field data is collected from failed drives, PFA analysis could be carried out by the vendor. Preventative maintenance / replacements could then be carried out for drive models or batch numbers which have abnormall...