Oracle, Emulex Unite to Fight Data Corruption

An effort by storage vendors to eliminate data corruption unveiled more than 18 months ago will soon bear its first fruits (see Storage Vendors Pledge Data Integrity).

Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL) announced today that it is contributing block I/O data integrity infrastructure code to Linux, which has been accepted into the 2.6.27 Linux kernel.

The open source code, developed with HBAsvendor Emulex (NYSE: ELX), lets subsystems tap into data integrity features “for comprehensive data integrity capabilities across the entire software stack,” the companies said.

Oracle and Emulex also plan an early adopter program for customers to test the data integrity features in real-world environments.

Scott McIntyre, Emulex’s vice president of product marketing, said storage array vendors won’t offer support for the Data Integrity Initiative (DII) for another year or two, but he said starting with the host side “should address a significant amount of these types of problems.”

LSI (NYSE: LSI), another member of the initiative, will likely be one of the first array vendors to support DII, which implements T10’s Protection Information Model (formerly known as DIF) for end-to-end data integrity of enterprise storage systems. The initiative began as an internal effort at Seagate (NYSE: STX), another DII participant. HP (NYSE: HPQ) also voiced support for the initiative today.

Software and hardware errors leading to “silent” data corruption are relatively rare, McIntyre said, but by the time they’re detected, every data copy might be corrupted, including backups.

“They don’t happen often, but they can be catastrophic when they do,” he said.

End users have been loathe to discuss data corruption problems (see Keeping Silent About Silent Data Corruption), although a database corruption event appeared to be behind an August shipping outage at Netflix.

The Linux code contribution includes generic support for data integrity at the block and file system layer, as well as support for the T10 Protection Information Model and the Data Integrity Extensions.

The new code gives Linux additional check points and helps eliminate silent data corruption by reducing the potential for incorrect data to be written to the disk, decreasing application and database errors and system downtime.

The code “helps ensure comprehensive data integrity is maintained as data moves from application to database, and from Linux operating system to disk storage,” the companies said, and is the first implementation of the T10 Protection Information Model standard for an operating system.

The extensions, developed in collaboration with Emulex, augment the T10 standard by allowing protection information to be transferred to and from host memory, enabling end-to-end data integrity protection.

“Our work with Oracle is designed to help data center administrators quickly identify and remediate corrupted data, thereby protecting their business assets while also preventing lengthy server downtime and associated costs,” said McIntyre.

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Paul Shread
Paul Shread
eSecurity Editor Paul Shread has covered nearly every aspect of enterprise technology in his 20+ years in IT journalism, including an award-winning series on software-defined data centers. He wrote a column on small business technology for, and covered financial markets for 10 years, from the dot-com boom and bust to the 2007-2009 financial crisis. He holds a market analyst certification.
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