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Microbenchmark-based Extraction of Local and Global Disk Characteristics

Summary: Microbenchmark-based Extraction of
Local and Global Disk Characteristics
Nisha Talagala, Remzi H. Arpaci-Dusseau, and David Patterson
Computer Science Division
University of California, Berkeley
Obtaining timely and accurate information about the low-level characteristics of disk drives presents a problem
for system design and implementation alike. This paper presents a collection of three disk microbenchmarks which
combine to empirically extract a relevant subset of disk geometry and performance parameters in an efficient and
accurate manner, without requiring a priori information of the drive being measured. Novel among the benchmarksis
the utilization of linearly-increased stride to glean a spectrum of low-level details including head-switch and cylinder-
switch times while factoring out rotational effects. A bandwidth benchmarkextracts the zone profile of disks, revealing
that the previously preferred linear model of zone bandwidth is less accurate than a quadratic model. A seek profile
is also generated, completing the trio of benchmarks. Data is collected from a broad class of modern disks, including
five SCSI, two IDE, and two simulated drives.
1 Introduction
Theories come and go, but fundamental data always remains.
Mary Leakey
Sustained innovation in the hard-drive industry has spurred incredible advances in disk technology. Both perfor-
mance and capacity have benefited bandwidth is increasing at sixty percent per year, and capacity is growing at


Source: Arpaci-Dusseau, Andrea - Department of Computer Sciences, University of Wisconsin at Madison


Collections: Computer Technologies and Information Sciences