Computer Science Department
School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University


Freeblock Scheduling Outside of Disk Firmware

Christopher R. Lumb, Jiri Schindler, Gregory R. Ganger

July 2001

Keywords: Disk scheduling, storage systems, fisk efficiency, file systems

Freeblock scheduling replaces a disk drive's rotational latency delays with useful background media transfers, potentially allowing background disk I/O to occur with no impact on foreground service times. To do so, a freeblock scheduler must be able to very accurately predict the service time components of any given disk request - the necessary accuracy was not previously considered achievable outside of disk firmware. This paper describes the design and implementation of a working external freeblock scheduler running either as a user-level application atop Linux or inside the FreeBSD kernel. This freeblock scheduler can give 15% of a disk's potential bandwidth (over 3.1MB/s) to a background disk scanning task with almost no impact (less than 2%) on the foreground request response times. This increases disk bandwidth utilization by over 6x.

18 pages

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