Performance Evaluation of Host Aware Shingled Magnetic Recording (HA-SMR) Drives

Fenggang Wu, Ziqi Fan, Ming Chang Yang, Baoquan Zhang, Xiongzi Ge, David H.C. Du

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR) drives can benefit large-scale storage systems by reducing the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of dealing with explosive data growth. Among all existing SMR models, Host Aware SMR (HA-SMR) looks the most promising for its backward compatibility with legacy I/O stacks and its ability to use new SMR-specific APIs to support host I/O stack optimization. Building storage systems using HA-SMR drives calls for a deep understanding of the drive's performance characteristics. To accomplish this, we conduct in-depth performance evaluations on HA-SMR drives with a special emphasis on the performance implications of the SMR-specific APIs and how these drives can be deployed in large storage systems. We discover both favorable and adverse effects of using HA-SMR drives under various workloads. We also investigate the drive's performance under legacy production environments using real-world enterprise traces. Finally, we propose a novel host-controlled buffer that can help to reduce the severity of the decline in HA-SMR performance under our discovered unfavorable I/O access patterns. Without a detailed comprehensive design, we show the potential of the host-controlled buffer by a case study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7942044
Pages (from-to)1932-1945
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Computers
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work is partially supported by NSF I/UCRC Center for Research in Intelligent Storage (CRIS) and the US National Science Foundation under awards: 1525617, 1439622, 1305237, and 1421913.

Publisher Copyright:
© 1968-2012 IEEE.


  • H-Buffer
  • Host Aware SMR
  • characterization
  • system implication


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