Masked Trnsferring Method of Discontinuous Sectors in Disk Cache System

Tetsuhiko FUJII  Akira YAMAMOTO  Naoya TAKAHASHI  Minoru YOSHIDA  

IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Information and Systems   Vol.E78-D   No.10   pp.1239-1247
Publication Date: 1995/10/25
Online ISSN: 
Print ISSN: 0916-8532
Type of Manuscript: PAPER
Category: Computer Systems
disk caches,  disk controller,  performance evaluation,  discontinuous sectors,  data transferring,  

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This paper proposes a masked data transferring method for the write-back controlled disk cache system employing a fixed-length recording disk drive, enabling data transfer of discontinuous sectors on the same track between the cache and the disk. This paper also evaluates the method. In write-back controlled disk cache sytems, random write requests cause dirty data (write-pending data on a cache) on discontinuous areas on the cache. It is likely that several sectors on the same track become dirty. These dirty sectors must be written onto the disk according to the cache management scheme. In conventional data transferring methods between a disk cache and a disk drive, plural sectors can be transferred in one single operation when the sectors are adjacent, but discrete sectors must be transferred by individual operations. In the methods, an address of the head sector and number of sectors to be transferred are given to the transfer unit. For example, when two sectors on the same track are located closely but not adjacently, and data transfer is requested for those two sectors, the transfer operation for the second sector must be prepared after the first transfer had completed and before the second sector arrives under the disk head. Although the time for the head to pass by the uninterested sector is often too short for the software overhead for the first transfer to be completed and the second transfer to be prepared, which leads to an unwanted extra rotation of the disk. With the masked transferring method proposed in this paper, the micro program creates a bit-map specifying the target sectors to be transferred and passes it to the data transfer unit, enabling to transfer the discontinuous sectors without latency. The method was evaluated using OLTP warkloads. Results show an improvement in random I/O throughput of between 8% and 27%. The masked transferring method is adopted in Hitachi's A-6521 disk subsytems, shipped since December 1993.