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Provisioning, and later optimizing, a storage system involves an extensive set of trade-offs between system metrics, including purchase cost, performance, reliability, availability, and power. Previous work has tried to simplify provisioning and tuning tasks by allowing a system administrator to specify goals for various storage metrics. While this helps by raising the level of specification from low-level mechanisms to high-level storage system metrics, it does not permit trade-offs between those metrics. This dissertation goes beyond goal-based requirements by allowing the system administrator to use a utility function to specify his objectives. Using utility, both the costs and benefits of configuration and tuning decisions can be examined within a single framework.
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