Array Technology / STK Alpine

1988
Array Technology / STK Alpine

An early, perhaps first, commercial configurable RAID product that was OEM’ed to STC by Array Technology

Why it's important

Storage subsystems until the early 1990’s were predominantly just a bunch of disk drives (“JBOD”), typically large ones. During the 1990s subsystems increasing used arrays of small disk drives with redundancy the prior art with RAID 5 and/or RAID 1 (or variants thereof) becoming the dominant organization for large storage subsystems.


Discussion:

Mirroring, now RAID 1, was well established (see DEC Disk Mirrors) as a way of improving reliability but because it doubled storage it was generally too expensive for most applications. Having one parity record for multiple disks and spreading parity across the disks (typically 1:4) achieved relatively low cost and high reliability.

The Berkeley paper's taxonomy of RAID1 thru RAID5 was widely adopted and extended to describe the types of redundant subsystems.

Although RAID 5 was invented by IBM, they were late in product implementation. Array Technology was one of the more successful early (if not first) implementers of configurable RAID and its patents are widely cited by subsequent inventions in this field (as is the IBM patent). EMC acquired Array’s patent portfolio.

Additional Information
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