RACS: A Case for Cloud Storage Diversity

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Executive Summary

The increasing popularity of cloud storage is leading organizations to consider moving data out of their own data centers and into the cloud. However, success for cloud storage providers can present a significant risk to customers; namely, it becomes very expensive to switch storage providers. In this paper, the authors make a case for applying RAID-like techniques used by disks and file systems, but at the cloud storage level. They argue that striping user data across multiple providers can allow customers to avoid vendor lock-in, reduce the cost of switching providers, and better tolerate provider outages or failures. They introduce RACS, a proxy that transparently spreads the storage load over many providers.

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