A Stochastic Analysis of Hard Disk Drives

We provide a stochastic analysis of hard disk performance, including a closed form solution for the average access time of a memory request. The model we use covers a wide range of types and applications of disks, and in particular it captures modern innovations like zone bit recording. The derivation is based on an analytical technique we call “shuffling”, which greatly simplifies the analysis relative to previous work and provides a simple, easy-to-use formula for the average access time. Our analysis can predict performance of single disks for a wide range of disk types and workloads. Furthermore, it can predict the performance benefits of several optimizations, including short stroking and mirroring, which are common in disk arrays.