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Faster disk drive rebuilds: Hot Spots

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Other vendors seek to leverage their architectures to speed rebuild time and reduce the risk of data loss if multiple drives fail. When a file is written, the data and parity is distributed across the available disk drives in the cluster. In the event of a drive failure, the data required for a rebuild is spread across multiple nodes in the cluster, so drives across the entire cluster are leveraged.

Shifting data protection strategies from a hardware-based approach to a software-based approach creates new possibilities. With a hardware-based protection scheme, the choice is often between protecting all of the data or none. Information-based protection opens the door to the possibility of more granular, policy-based information protection.

The bottom line is that different storage characteristics are required for various data types. Hardware RAID schemes continue to be a good solution for lower capacity, faster drives and won't go away any time soon. But it wouldn't be surprising to see information-based data protection schemes become more mainstream in tier 1 storage products over time, as vendors continue to simplify administration and build information-centric systems.

There are plenty of vendors offering information-based data protection schemes or rapid rebuild technology. Even in a tough economy, the number of vendors offering technology that accelerates or reduces the need for rebuilds seems to be growing. Remember that when you're evaluating

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technology that leverages high-capacity commodity disk drives, you should ask your vendor what they're doing to reduce your exposure to data loss during rebuilds.

This was first published in January 2009

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