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What is DISK I/O and DISK IOPS how does it affects the performance of server?

Disk I/O which basically means read or write operations. The disk I/O of an HDD can severely affect the performance of a website or reading/writing of DATA in the server.
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Disk IO and IOPS

If you are running and website or any application on a server and you are the one who is concern about speed then DISK I/O and DISK IOPS is something you should be aware of.  

First let us understand the definition of each.

Table of Contents

What Is I/O ?

To understand DISK I/O, We must first understand what is I/O Stand for? 

I am pretty sure most of us know I/O stand for Input / Output. 

The computer, work on different type of Input / Output devices with different speed. 

I/O Device Example

Device Behavior Partner Data Rate KB/Sec
Line Printer
Floppy Disk
Laser Printer
Optical Disk
Magnetic Disk
Network - LAN
Graph. Display

What is DISK I/O?

If you are running and website or any application on a server and you are the one who is concern about speed then DISK I/O and DISK IOPS is something you should be aware of.  

First let us understand the definition of each.

In other words, it can be answered as, disk I/O characterised as every process that involves writing to or reading from a storage device.

What Is IOPS ?

IOPS is a rate of the IO operations measured in 1/sec.

It is a ratio of the number of operations executed by storage within a period of time to the duration of this period of time in seconds.

IOPS enables you to understand the Read and Write operations of logical disk on your system and set thresholds.

  • Writes/sec – write operations rate.
  • Reads/sec – read operations rate.
  • Busy time – the % of elapsed time when your particular disk drive was busy in servicing write or read requests.
  • Queue length – the number of requests on the disk that are in the queue.

This explains you well about what is DISK I/O.

For random disk access that is a database, mail server, file server, etc, you should focus on how many input/output operations can be performed per second.

This can be managed by server administrator while setting up Dedicated Server

But when you have a Shared Web Hosting Services, your option is limited.

IOPS is an important factor in terms performance no matter if your using simple Linux shared hosting server or even a Linux dedicated servers.

High IOPS is having importance, when it comes to high sequential data transfer workloads such as data warehouse queries, video or audio edition & for big data workloads.


 What impacts I/O performance ?

Four primary factors that impact IOPS:

  • Multidisk Arrays – More disks in the array mean greater IOPS. If one disk can perform 150 IOPS, two disks can perform 300 IOPS. At times, this causes an issue.
  • Average IOPS per-drive – The greater the number of IOPS each drive can handle, the greater the total IOPS capacity. This is largely determined by the rotational speed of the drive.
  • RAID Factor – The applications installed must be likely using a RAID configuration for storage, which means you are using multiple disks for reliability and redundancy. Some RAID configurations have a powerful penalty for write operations. For RAID 6, every write request requires at least 6 disk operations. For RAID 1 and RAID 10, a write request requires only 2 disk operations. This concludes that the lower the number of disk operations, the higher the IOPS capacity.
  • Read and Write Workload – If at all you have a high percentage of write operations and a RAID setup that performs many operations for each write requests (like RAID 5 or RAID 6), your IOPS will be significantly lower.
Shashi kant Pandidhar

Shashi kant Pandidhar

I’ve been helping businesses to be online for over 15 years. Today my team and I, focus on helping real businesses to overcome real-life challenges and analyse data in a way that can help businesses grow in the right direction of this digital age.

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