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Analysis of IO Performance Comparison Over Different Storage Media and Block Sizes-B. T. L. Fernando, Prasanna S. Haddela

Analysis of IO Performance Comparison Over Different Storage Media and Block Sizes-B. T. L. Fernando, Prasanna S. Haddela

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This paper was submitted for eWORLDFORUM 2011 conference Page 1
Analysis of I/O Performance Comparison over different Storage Media andBlock sizes
B. T. L. Fernando, Prasanna S. HaddelaSri Lanka Institute of Information TechnologyDepartment of Information TechnologyColombo 03, Sri Lanka{tania.f, prasanna}@sliit.lk 
The usual storage device that is known to all is the Magnetic Disk. Since 1980s to 2000, withthe introduction of the Personal Computers (PCs), the small form factor of the MagneticDisks became a need. At the beginning of the 21
century, this target was achieved and thedisk diameter was down to one inch [1, 2]. The mechanical nature of the Magnetic disk affected on the performance and the data access time depends on the location where the datablock resides [6]. With the technological enhancements, the disk capacity has been increasedabout 2500 times during the period from 1993 to 2003. But, the disk bandwidth and latencyhas improved only about 140 times and 8 times respectively [7, 3]. Therefore, the AccessDensity has been declined over the years and with the increasing capacities of the disk drives,it can be decreased even further in the future [7].With the introduction of the mobile devices such as pocket PCs, palmtops, and hand helddevices, the different Storage Medias such as flash drives, Secure Digital (SD), Micro SD andSolid State Disks (SSD) comes in to play. The new Storage Medias are mainly based on theflash memory technology. The characteristics of Flash memory are significantly differentfrom Magnetic disks. The first difference that can be pointed out is the absence of mechanicalcomponents in the flash memory. This leads to no latency in flash memory where themagnetic disks have high latency due to its moving parts. This was promising for theexpected need of the small form factor and the access speeds. Flash memory also has lowpower consumption and provides reliability. When considering the flash memories, there aretwo types of non-volatile flash memory technologies that can be identified. The two types areNAND flash and NOR flash. NOR flash based solutions are best used for code storage and
This paper was submitted for eWORLDFORUM 2011 conference Page 2
execution, usually in small capacities where NAND flash based solutions are best used forhigh capacity data storage [5]. The flash memory storage Medias used for this research arebased on NAND based flash memory. According to previous research, the average accesstimes for NAND flash memory can be given as; reads 284.2µs and writes 1833.0µs. Thesefigures are for 4KB of data [4].Due to the reasons of light weight, small form factor, these Storage Media are highly used inmobile devices.
These mobile devices are playing a major role in today’s work environment
and due to that reason, these devices manage fairly large amounts of data. These dataincludes movie files, photos and considerably large databases. Therefore, the storagemediums used in these devices are important and should be monitored for performance. Butunlike the high end servers which are monitored periodically for performance, these devicesare not monitored for performance issues. However, mobile devices are expected to providehigh performance, especially with regards to IO response time. Therefore, there is a specificand urgent requirement to analyze these storage
devices’s performance in detail.
Whenanalyzing the performance, consideration of access time of data gains an importance, sincethat plays a major role in performance. Therefore, experiments were carried out to measurethe performance for different access patterns over the different storage media and block sizes.Further, the tests were compared to discover the performance patterns with regards to theaccess time and the block sizes.The research was based on analyzing the experiment results of I/O performance rates of different storage Medias for different block sizes. The selected storage media for theexperiments were Hard Drives, Flash Drives (Thumb drive), micro SD, SD and memorysticks. All experiments were performed using two performance benchmarking tools available,namely; IO Meter and HD Tune. With using these tools a series of tests were performed.Each storage media was tested for the available read write patterns; Sequential Reads,Sequential Writes, Random Reads and Random Writes, based on different block sizes. Thetest experiment settings and the details about the used storage Medias are given in detailalong with the test results. After performing the tests individually for all these storageMedias, the results were analyzed by comparing the different storage Medias. As example,HDD performance was compared against flash drive for all access patterns separately. Withthese comparison results, it was interesting to see how the storage device IO performances
This paper was submitted for eWORLDFORUM 2011 conference Page 3
vary with the block sizes. The results also varied unexpectedly for the different read writepatterns. At some block sizes, the performance of two different Medias had no difference. Forexample, when comparing the HDD performance with the flash pen drive for random reads, itwas evident that the HDD perform well for small block sizes (eg.512 bytes) rather than theflash drive. Block sizes greater than 64 KB resulted in an opposite way where the flash disk performed better than the HDD. Similar to this mentioned scenario there were manydifferences between the device performances with different block sizes.The objective of the research was to analyze the IO performance patterns for different accessmethods for different storage media. With the experiments performed, it was possible toanalyze all access patterns for the above mentioned storage medias. The results discoveredfrom the analysis leads us to re-think about the storage Medias that are used in differentapplications. In order to gain good performance for the applications used in all devices, thereis a need to consider the block sizes that are used in the application. Depending on theaverage block size used in the applications the decision can be taken on which storage mediais to be used for that particular application.As conclusions from the research the best performing storage device / devices for differentblock sizes and different access patterns can be suggested and also along with that, a list of suggestions can be given for different storage Medias that can be used for differentapplications depending on the selected block size.
[1] Albert S. Hoagland, “History of Magnetic Disk Storage Based
on Perpendicular Magnetic
Recording”, Proceedings on IEEE Transactions on Magnetics, Vol. No.4, July 2003
[2] Albert S. Hoagland, “Early History & a 50 year Perspective on Magnetic Disk 
Storage: The Genesis of the Current Revolution in Information St
orage”, Magnetic Disk 
Heritage Center, February 2005[3
] David A. Patterson, “Latency Lags Bandwidth”, Communications of the ACM, 47(10):
71-75, October 2007

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