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Understanding I/O Patterns at the Block Level with ioprof

Jeff Layton

Jeff Layton

Over at Admin HPC, Intel’s Jeff Layton writes that understanding how data makes its way from the application to storage devices is key to understanding how I/O works and that monitoring the lowest level of the I/O stack, the block driver, is a crucial part of this overall understanding of I/O patterns.

Linux comes with a couple of tools, blktrace and blkparse, for tracing activity at the block level; however, they can be difficult to use and require a little finesse. A nifty tool named ioprof uses these tools to produce a very useful report of I/O patterns at the block level that includes histograms, heat maps, and I/O size stats. You can run ioprof in a data gathering mode that collects data for later postprocessing, a “live” mode that lets you watch developments in real time, and a postprocessing mode that produces some really useful output. The ASCII IOPS heat map charts can be very useful for a quick evaluation of I/O behavior, and the PDF version of the report has some great charts.

PDF IOPS histogram during IOzone write test

PDF IOPS histogram during IOzone write test

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