The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that moving from a shared back-end bus structure to a switch-based back-end structure in the design of RAID servers or file servers can significantly enhance the performance and availability of these systems.

Until recently, including a back-end switch as an essential component of a storage server has not been practical because the power, cooling, packaging, and cost of a back-end switch has made it unreasonable. In addition, adding a back-end switch would have also required significant changes to the firmware of the storage server. However, recent changes in back-end switch design now make it practical and feasible.

For more information on back-end switching, visit Vixel’s Web site.