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IO3390 Workload

For evaluations of disk I/O performance, we often use a CMS application program called IO3390. This appendix describes the IO3390 application and some of the ways it can be configured.

IO3390 is a CMS application program that repeatedly issues the Start Subchannel (SSCH) instruction so as to run one I/O after another after another, all to the same disk device, with no wait time between the I/Os. By using IO3390 we can generate disk I/O burdens and thereby measure disk I/O performance.

When it begins running, IO3390 reads a small control file that describes the test to be performed. Statements in the control file parameterize the run, that is, the statements specify the run duration, the kind of I/Os to perform, and so on.

In a given run of the IO3390 application, all of the I/Os are:

  • Directed at the same virtual device, for example, a given minidisk
  • Of the same type, that is, all command-mode (CCWs) or all transport-mode (TCWs)
  • Of the same size, expressed as a number of 4 KB records, from 1 to 64 4 KB records per I/O

The control file specifies the fraction of I/Os that are to be reads. The percent of I/Os that should be read I/Os can be specified as an integer in the range [0..100]. IO3390 selects whether the next I/O is a read or a write according to the specified percentage.

The control file further specifies the duration of the run, in seconds.

For each I/O it performs, IO3390 selects a random starting record number on the disk, the random starting record being uniformly distributed over the possible starting records on the disk, so that all possible starting record numbers are equally likely. Records very near to the end of the disk might not be eligible as starting record numbers if the I/Os are sized at greater than one record. For example, if the I/Os are all to be two records long, the very last record of the disk cannot be the starting record number.

IO3390 treats the minidisk as just a sequence of records available for reading or writing. It does not require that the minidisk contain a valid file system of any kind, such as a CMS EDF filesystem. Further, when the test is over, IO3390 will likely have destroyed any file system that might have been on the disk when the run began.

Usually we run IO3390 in a number of CMS virtual machines concurrently. For example, we might decided to drive six real disk volumes concurrently with 48 IO3390 instances, eight instances per real volume. For this kind of arrangement, we would set up eight minidisks on each real volume and point each of the 48 IO3390 instances at its own minidisk.

We collect MONWRITE data during each run and analyze the monitor records with z/VM Performance Toolkit or with a private analysis tool of some kind.

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