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Timing-accurate Storage Emulation (CMU-CS-01-146)

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journal contribution
posted on 01.01.2002 by John Linwood Griffin, Jiri Schindler, Steven W. Schlosser, John S. Bucy, Gregory R. Ganger
Timing-accurate storage emulation fills an important gap in the set of common performance evaluation techniques for proposed storage designs: it allows a researcher to experiment with not-yet-existing storage components in the context of real systems executing real applications. As its name suggests, a timing-accurate storage emulator appears to the system to be a real storage component with service times matching a simulation model of that component. This paper promotes timing-accurate storage emulation by describing its unique features, demonstrating its feasibility, and illustrating its value. A prototype, called the Memulator, is described and shown to produce service times within 2% of those computed by its component simulator for over 99% of requests. Two sets of measurements enabled by the Memulator illustrate its power: (1) application performance on a modern Linux system equipped with a MEMS-based storage device (no such device exists at this time), and (2) application performance on a modern Linux system equipped with a disk whose firmware has been modified (we have no access to firmware source code).


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