Linux Data Integrity Extensions
The technology in Linux data integrity extensions allows the integrity of data to be preserved as it travels from applications to storage. The entire path is protected, and a failed integrity check will cause an error to be reported to the application. The software can instantly remedy the problem, thus preventing incorrect data from being written to storage. This technology provides a significantly increased resilience against unexpected loss of service.
Consulting Software Developer, Linux Kernel Engineering
Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Product: Linux Data Integrity Extensions
Q: Why is the technology of Linux data integrity extensions innovative?
A: Most existing data integrity schemes allow detection of corruption when you eventually read data back from disk. However, that could be months after the data was written and the good copy in system memory is long gone. Our technology enables us to protect the integrity of an I/O request from the time the data is created in memory until it is physically stored on the disk. Should an error occur while the I/O is in flight, we have the opportunity to retry the request while we still have the data in memory. This can be done without interrupting the application at all. This is a crucial feature in a lot of business-critical deployments where even brief downtime can be extremely expensive.
Our technology protects all products that use the Oracle database in combination with Oracle Automatic Storage Management. It requires Oracle Enterprise Linux as well as integrity protection-capable hardware from Oracle's partners.
Q: How is it unique?
A: We are the first in the industry to offer a true end-to-end data integrity protection solution. Existing technologies merely allow detection after the fact. Oracle's technology, developed along with our hardware partners, proactively prevents silent data corruption.
Q: How do you define innovation?
A: Innovation is about building things. I am a builder. This started when I was a kid with Lego, and, well, I am still building Lego models. There's something very satisfying about taking a pile of building blocks and turning them into something useful. The same principle applies to both software and hardware design: assembling a bunch of parts—which individually are not very interesting—and turning them into an elegant solution to a problem.
Q: What innovative technology are you excited about right now?
A: I am very excited about using flash storage to improve system performance by introducing an extra level in the caching hierarchy. Flash technology itself isn't new, but recent advances in the industry mean we can leverage it in new and interesting ways.
Q: Outside of Oracle's products, what's the most innovative product that you know of?
A: Call me biased, but I think Linux is pretty innovative—and probably not for the reasons that most people think it is. From a technical perspective, we do have a few things that are implemented in an especially elegant fashion. But for better or worse, Linux is just yet another UNIX-like operating system. What's innovative about Linux is the way it is being developed. There is a long tradition of collaborative, volunteer-driven software projects on the internet. But we have managed to scale that up to a technology that has been disruptive to an entire industry. That's pretty innovative to me.