Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Computer Science


Computer Science

Major Professor

Roussev, Vassil

Second Advisor

Richard III, Golden


Current hard drive technology shows a widening gap between the ability to store vast amounts of data and the ability to process. To overcome the problems of this secular trend, we explore the use of available distributed RAM resources to effectively replace a mechanical hard drive. The essential approach is a distributed Linux block device that spreads its blocks throughout spare RAM on a cluster and transfers blocks using network capacity. The presented solution is LAN-scalable, easy to deploy, and faster than a commodity hard drive. The specific driving problem is I/O intensive applications, particularly digital forensics. The prototype implementation is a Linux 2.4 kernel module, and connects to Unix based clients. It features an adaptive prefetching scheme that seizes future data blocks for each read request. We present experimental results based on generic benchmarks as well as digital forensic applications that demonstrate significant performance gains over commodity hard drives.


The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.