Data Management

Transparent Contribution of Storage and Memory

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Executive Summary

Many research projects have proposed contributory systems that utilize the significant free disk space, idle memory, and wasted CPU cycles found on end-user machines. These applications include peer-to-peer backup, large-scale distributed storage, and distributed computation such as signal processing and protein folding. While users are generally willing to give up unused CPU cycles, a variety of subtle factors conspire to deter participation in disk and memory-based contributory systems. First, users are often reluctant to give up disk space even though they aren't using it. Second, as contribution consumes available space, disk performance suffers. Finally, contributory applications pollute the machine's memory, forcing user pages to be evicted to disk. This paging can disrupt user activity for seconds or even minutes.

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