RDP: Row-Diagonal Parity for Double Disk Failure Correction

One-line Summary

RDP is an algorithm that protects against double disk failures. RDP can be applied to RAID systems. RDP is also known as RAID-DP/RAID-6 (There are other RAID-6 approaches to handle two disk failures, but RDP is the most intuitive).

Paper Structure Outline

  1. Introduction

  2. Related Work

  3. Double Disk Failure Models and Analysis

  4. Row-Diagonal Parity Algorithm

  5. Proof of Correctness

  6. Performance Analysis

  7. Algorithm Extensions

  8. Implementation Experience

  9. Measured Performance

  10. Conclusions

  11. Acknowledgments

Background & Motivation

There are two types of disk failures: Individual disks can fail by whole-disk failure, whereby all the data on the disk becomes temporarily or permanently inaccessible, or by media failure, whereby a small portion of the data on a disk becomes temporarily inaccessible. The previous RAID only considers whole-disk failures.

Multiple disk errors are likely: the authors gave a detailed analysis of why this is the case in section 3 (which I'm not going to get into).

Design and Implementation

RDP is built on RAID-4 or RAID-5. In this paper, we will focus on RAID-4.

XOR is still used for parity. The figure shows the diagonal of each block. In the example above, if we have whole-disk failures on data disks 1 and 3, the data can be easily recovered in many ways.

RDP can also be extended to encompass multiple RAID-4 or RAID-5 disk arrays in a single RDP disk array.


  • Read performance is unaffected.

  • Sequential write: Write p-1 stripes at once for best performance (update row and diagonal parity at the same time).

  • Partial stripe writes: Writing d blocks by subtraction requires 2d+4 I/Os (d+2 for read, d+2 for write), and writing d blocks by additive requires n I/Os (n-d-2 for read, d+2 for write). Thus, we use a combination of additive and subtractive.

  • Proof of correctness and optimality is covered in the paper.

  • G: number of separate RAID groups connected to the filer

  • d: number of data disks per RAID group

  • p: number of parity disks per RAID group

New Vocabulary

  • NetApp: A cloud data services and data management company.

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