2005/05/29 AoE (ATA over Ethernet) distributed storage
The idea here is that for local network storage where you and the
storage are connected to the same switch, you don't
really need the overhead of tcp/ip. Packets don't get lost
traveling through a switch, they don't get reordered, so
why have all that overhead? AoE is a protocol designed
to provide the minimum overhead necessary for you to have (for
example) /dev/etherd/e0.0 as a block device that refers to
storage out on the lan, but that you would treat no
differently than you would /dev/hda. It's a great
idea, and the driver that accomplishes this magic is
in the 2.6 kernel.
Of course that's only half the story. There has to be
something at the other end of the network that talks back over
the same protocol, and that is NOT in the kernel. There
is a "vblade" project
that can provide that functionality, and a line of commercial hardware
products also (http://www.coraid.com Coraid - link dead).
The June issue of Linux Journal has an article about ATA Over Ethernet: Putting Hard Drives on the LAN
. This article is written by a Coraid employee, so it isn't
entirely unbiased. There was a long thread at
http://lists.ssc.com/ but that site is gone now.
Note that the "vblade" project referred to above is
authored by the same Coraid employee who wrote the article, but he is
quite direct in pointing out that "The AoE network protocol is open---anyone can implement it".
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