Patent Number: 6,311,251

Title: System for optimizing data storage in a RAID system

Abstract: The intelligent data storage manager functions to optimize the data storage utilization in a RAID data storage subsystem that is equipped with a heterogeneous mix of data storage elements. This is accomplished by using preference groups and biasing the writing of stripes of data in the redundancy groups of the RAID system to the disk drive or a set of disk drives in the preference group that have the greatest available data storage capacity. This ensures that the data storage capacity of the the disk drive with the largest available capacity is utilized to the maximum capacity. A preference group comprises a group of disk drives that is larger than the stripe size that is used to store data in a RAID format. The data storage manager does not write data across all of the disk drives in the preference group at a time, but rotates the collection of disk drives that are used to write a stripe of data. Therefore, if there is a failure of one of the disks in the RAID preference group, only a portion of the stripes stored therein need to be reconstructed, thereby speeding the reconstruction process. By including the the disk drive(s) with the largest available capacity in every stripe that is written to the preference group, the data storage capacity of the disk drive with the largest available capacity is preferentially used in the storage of data, thereby using this excess capacity first, with the utilization of the data storage capacity of this disk drive being related to the ratio of the preference group size to the RAID stripe size.

Inventors: Merritt; Perry Wayde (Broomfield, CO), Mullins; June (Denver, CO), Reeve; Ian Fraiser (Thornton, CO), VonBehren; Paul David (Boulder, CO), Willis; Kenneth L. (Louisville, CO)

Assignee: Storage Technology Corporation

International Classification: G06F 3/06 (20060101); G06F 012/00 ()

Expiration Date: 10/30/2018