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Reducing Disk I/O Performance Sensitivity for Large Numbers of Sequential Streams

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3 Author(s)
George Panagiotakis ; Inst. of Comput. Sci. (ICS), Found. for Res. & Technol. - Hellas (FORTH), Heraklion, Greece ; Michail D. Flouris ; Angelos Bilas

Retrieving sequential rich media content from modern commodity disks is a challenging task. As disk capacity increases, there is a need to increase the number of streams that are allocated to each disk. However, when multiple streams are accessing a single disk, throughput is dramatically reduced because of disk head seek overhead, resulting in requirements for more disks. Thus, there is a tradeoff between how many streams should be allowed to access a disk and the total throughput that can be achieved. In this work we examine this tradeoff and provide an understanding of issues along with a practical solution. We use Disksim, a detailed architectural simulator, to examine several aspects of a modern I/O subsystem and we show the effect of various disk parameters on system performance under multiple sequential streams. Then, we propose a solution that dynamically adjusts I/O request streams, based on host and I/O subsystem parameters. We implement our approach in a real system and perform experiments with a small and a large disk configuration. Our approach improves disk throughput up to a factor of 4 with a workload of 100 sequential streams, without requiring large amounts of memory on the storage node. Moreover, it is able to adjust (statically) to different storage node configurations, essentially making the I/O subsystem insensitive to the number of I/O streams used.

Published in:

Distributed Computing Systems, 2009. ICDCS '09. 29th IEEE International Conference on

Date of Conference:

22-26 June 2009