ZoneTier: A zone-based storage tiering and caching co-design to integrate SSDs with SMR drives

Xuchao Xie, Liquan Xiao, David H.C. Du

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Integrating solid-state drives (SSDs) and host-aware shingled magnetic recording (HA-SMR) drives can potentially build a cost-effective high-performance storage system. However, existing SSD tiering and caching designs in such a hybrid system are not fully matched with the intrinsic properties of HA-SMR drives due to their lacking consideration of how to handle non-sequential writes (NSWs). We propose ZoneTier, a zonebased storage tiering and caching co-design, to effectively control all the NSWs by leveraging the host-aware property of HA-SMR drives. ZoneTier exploits real-time data layout of SMR zones to optimize zone placement, reshapes NSWs generated from zone demotions to SMR preferred sequential writes, and transforms the inevitable NSWs to cleaning-friendly write traffics for SMR zones. ZoneTier can be easily extended to match host-managed SMR drives using proactive cleaning policy. We implemented a prototype of ZoneTier with user space data management algorithms and real SSD and HA-SMR drives, which are manipulated by the functions provided by libzbc and libaio. Our experiments show that ZoneTier can reduce zone relocation overhead by 29.41% on average, shorten performance recovery time of HA-SMR drives from cleaning by up to 33.37%, and improve performance by up to 32.31% than existing hybrid storage designs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA19
JournalACM Transactions on Storage
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work has been supported by NSF Awards No. 1439622, No. 152567, and No. 1812537. Xuchao Xie was supported by the China Scholarship Council. Authors’ addresses: X. Xie and L. Xiao, National University of Defense Technology, College of Computer, Changsha, Hunan, 410073, China; emails: {xiexuchao, xiaoliquan}; D. H.C. Du, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Department of Computer Science, Minneapolis, MN, 55455; email: Permission to make digital or hard copies of all or part of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that copies bear this notice and the full citation on the first page. Copyrights for components of this work owned by others than ACM must be honored. Abstracting with credit is permitted. To copy otherwise, or republish, to post on servers or to redistribute to lists, requires prior specific permission and/or a fee. Request permissions from © 2019 Association for Computing Machinery. 1553-3077/2019/07-ART19 $15.00

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Association for Computing Machinery.


  • Host-aware
  • Shingled magnetic recording (SMR)
  • Tiering and caching co-design
  • ZoneTier


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