PDL Abstract

Automated Disk Drive Characterization

Carnegie Mellon University Technical Report CMU-CS-99-176, December 1999.

Jiri Schindler and Gregory R. Ganger

Dept. Electrical and Computer Engineering
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213


DIXtrac is a program that automatically characterizes the performance of modern disk drives. This report describes and validates DIXtrac's algorithms, which extract accurate values for over 100 performance-critical parameters in 2 to 6 minutes without human intervention or special hardware support. The extracted data include detailed layout and geometry information, mechanical timings, cache management policies, and command processing overheads. DIXtrac is validated by configuring a detailed disk simulator with its extracted parameters; in most cases, the resulting accuracies match those of the most accurate disk simulators reported in the literature. To date, DIXtrac has been successfully used on over 20 disk drives, including eight different models from four different manufacturers.

FULL PAPER: pdf / postscript