Reducing Seek Overhead With Application-Directed Prefetching

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Executive Summary

An analysis of performance characteristics of modern disks finds that prefetching can improve the performance of non-sequential read access patterns by an order of magnitude or more, far more than demonstrated by prior work. Using this analysis, the authors design prefetching algorithms that make effective use of primary memory, and can sometimes gain additional speedups by reading unneeded data. They show when additional prefetching memory is most critical for performance. A contention controller automatically adjusts prefetching memory usage, preserving the benefits of prefetching while sharing available memory with other applications.

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