PDL Abstract

Freeblock Scheduling Outside of Disk Firmware

Conference on File and Storage Technologies (FAST) January 28-30, 2002. Monterey, CA. Supercedes Carnegie Mellon University SCS Technical Report CMU-CS-01-149.

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

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


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 can increase disk bandwidth utilization by over 6X.

FULL PAPER: pdf / postscript