Date of Award

3-2012

Degree Name

MS in Electrical Engineering

Department

Electrical Engineering

Advisor

John Oliver

Abstract

The performance of hard disks has become increasingly important as the volume of data storage increases. At the bottom level of large-scale storage networks is the hard disk. Despite the importance of hard drives in a storage network, it is often difficult to analyze the performance of hard disks due to the sheer size of the datasets seen by hard disks. Additionally, hard drive workloads can have several multi-dimensional characteristics, such as access time, queue depth and block-address space. The result is that hard drive workloads are extremely diverse and large, making extracting meaningful information from hard drive workloads very difficult. This is one reason why there are several inefficiencies in storage networks.

In this paper, we develop a tool that assists in communicating valuable insights into these datasets, resulting in an approach that utilizes parallel coordinates to model data storage workloads captured with bus analyzers. Users are presented with an effective visualization of workload captures with this implementation, along with methods to interact with and manipulate the model in order to more clearly analyze the lowest level of their storage systems.

Design decisions regarding the feature set of this tool are based on the analysis needs of domain experts and feedback from a conducted user study. Results from our user study evaluations demonstrate the efficacy of our tool to observe valuable insights, which can potentially assist in future storage system design and deployment decisions. Using this tool, domain experts were able to model storage system datasets with various features to manipulate the visualization to make observations and discoveries, such as detecting logical block address banding and observe various dataset trends which were not readily noticeable using conventional analysis methods.

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