Project Silica: Towards Sustainable Cloud Archival Storage in Glass
Patrick Anderson, Erika Blancada Aranas, Youssef Assaf, Raphael Behrendt, Richard Black, Marco Caballero, Pashmina Cameron, Burcu Canakci, Thales de Carvalho, Andromachi Chatzieleftheriou, James Clegg, Rebekah Storan Clarke, Daniel Cletheroe, Bridgette Cooper, Tim Deegan, Austin Donnelly, Rokas Drevinskas, Alexander Gaunt, Christos Gkantsidis, Ariel Gomez Diaz, Istvan Haller, Freddie Hong, Teodora Ilieva, Shashidhar Joshi, Russell Joyce, Mint Kunkel, David Lara, Sergey Legtchenko, Fanglin Linda Liu, Bruno Magalhaes, Alana Marzoev, Marvin McNett, Jayashree Mohan, Michael Myrah, Truong Nguyen, Sebastian Nowozin, Aaron Ogus, Hiske Overweg, Antony Rowstron, Maneesh Sah, Masaaki Sakakura, Peter Scholtz, Nina Schreiner, Omer Sella, Adam Smith, Ioan Stefanovici, David Sweeney, Benn Thomsen, Govert Verkes, Phil Wainman, Jonathan Westcott, Luke Weston, Charles Whittaker, Pablo Wilke Berenguer, Hugh Williams, Thomas Winkler and Stefan Winzeck.
Proc. 29th SOSP, pp. 166-181, October 2023.

Sustainable and cost-effective long-term storage remains an unsolved problem. The most widely used storage technologies today are magnetic (hard disk drives and tape). They use media that degrades over time and has a limited lifetime, which leads to inefficient, wasteful, and costly solutions for long-lived data. This paper presents Silica: the first cloud storage system for archival data underpinned by quartz glass, an extremely resilient media that allows data to be left in situ indefinitely. The hardware and software of Silica have been co-designed and co-optimized from the media up to the service level with sustainability as a primary objective. The design follows a cloud-first, data-driven methodology un- derpinned by principles derived from analyzing the archival workload of a large public cloud service. Silica can support a wide range of archival storage workloads and ushers in a new era of sustainable, cost-effective storage.