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Storage plays a pivotal role in the performance of many applications. Many applications, especially those that run on servers, are I/O intensive and therefore require high performance storage systems. These high-end storage systems consume a large amount of power, the bulk of which is due to the disk drives. Optimizing disk architectures is a design time as well as a run time issue and requires balancing between performance and power. There are different figures of merit, such as performance and energy, and a large space of design and runtime "knobs" that can be used to optimize disk drive behavior. Given such a large space, it is desirable to have a systematic methodology to optimally set these knobs to satisfy our figures of merit as efficiently as possible. In this paper we present the sensitivity-based optimization methodology for disk architectures (SODA), which leverages results previously obtained in digital circuit design optimization scenarios. Using detailed models of the electro-mechanical behavior of disk drives and a suite of realistic workloads, we show how SODA can aid in design and runtime optimization of disk drive architectures.
Date of Publication: Jan. 2009