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The Memory Hierarchy. Desired data carried to read/write port, access times in seconds. Most common: racks of tapes; newer devices: CD­ROM “juke boxes,” tape “silo's.” Capacities in terabytes. Typically magnetic disks, magneto­optical (erasable), CD­ROM.

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the memory hierarchy
The Memory Hierarchy

Desired data carried to read/write port,

access times in seconds.

Most common: racks of tapes; newer

devices: CD­ROM “juke boxes,” tape


Capacities in terabytes.

  • Typically magnetic disks, magneto­optical
  • (erasable), CD­ROM.
  • Access times in milliseconds, great
  • variability.
  • Unit of read/write = block or page,
  • typically 4Kb.
  • Capacities in gigabytes.

under a microsecond, random access, perhaps 512Mb

fastest, perhaps 1Mb

volatile vs non volatile
Volatile vs. Non-Volatile
  • A storage device is nonvolatile if it can retain its data after a power shutoff.
  • Issue is important because DBMS's
  • cannot allow data to be lost, ever.
  • Disks and tapes of all types are nonvolatile.
  • Main memory is typically volatile --- charge
  • drains out of simple memory circuits.



computer quantities
Computer Quantities


K Kilo

M Mega

G Giga

T Tera

P Peta

moore s law
Moore's Law
  • Gordon Moore observed many years ago that integrated circuits were improving in many ways, following an exponential curve that doubles about every 18 months.
  • Some of these parameters that follow "Moore's law" are:
    • The speed of processors, i.e., the number of instructions executed per second and the ratio of the speed to cost of a processor.
    • The cost of main memory per bit and the number of bits that can be put on one chip.
    • The cost of disk per bit and the capacity of the largest disks.
  • On the other hand, there are some other important parameters that do not follow Moore's law; they grow slowly if at all. Among these are
    • The speed of accessing data in main memory, or
    • The speed at which disks rotate.
  • Because they grow slowly, "latency" becomes progressively larger.
  • That is, the time to move data between levels of the memory hierarchy appears to take progressively longer compared with the time to compute.
  • Thus, in future years, we expect that main memory will appear much further away from the processor than cache, and data on disk will appear even further away from the processor.
use of secondary storage
Use of Secondary Storage
  • Common use is to store pages from the (virtual memory) address space of an application program.
    • 32­bit address space means 4Gb of data.
    • Enough for most purposes, but not for large DB.
    • Main­memory DB: specialized DBMS that operates in virtual memory.
  • File system. File = collection of blocks holding logically related data.
    • Common: file = big character string.
    • DB: file = relation or extent of a class; units of the file are records representing tuples or objects.

To motivate many of the ideas used in DBMS’es, we must examine the operation of disks in detail.

  • Platters with top and bottom surfaces rotate
  • around a spindle.
  • Diameters 1 inch to 4 feet.
  • 2--30 surfaces.
  • Rotation speed: 3600--7200 rpm.
  • One head per surface.
  • All heads move in and out in unison.
tracks and sectors
Tracks and sectors
  • Surfaces are covered with concentric tracks.
    • Tracks at a common radius = cylinder.
    • Important because all data of a cylinder can be read quickly, without moving the heads.
  • Typical magnetic disk: 16,000 cylinders
  • Tracks are divided into sectors by unmagnetized gaps (which are 10% of track).
    • Typical track: 512 sectors.
    • Typical sector: 4096 bytes.
  • Sector is unit of error correction/detection.
    • Parity­check bit chosen so number of 1's is even. Thus, single errors detectable.
    • A bad sector is “cancelled” by the disk controller, so it is never used.
  • Sectors are grouped into blocks.
    • Typical: one 16K block = 4 4096­byte sectors.
megatron 747 disk parameters
MEGATRON 747 Disk Parameters
  • There are 8 platters providing 16 surfaces.
  • There are 214, or 16,384 tracks per surface.
  • There are (on average) 27= 128 sectors per track.
  • There are 212=4096=4K bytes per sector.
  • Capacity = 16*214*27*212 = 237 = 128*230 = 128 GB
  • Suppose the tracks occupy the outer inch of the surfaces. The density of bits in the radial direction is thus 16,384 per inch, because that is the number of tracks.
  • The density of bits around the tracks is far greater.
    • Let us suppose at first that each track has the average number of sectors, 128. Suppose that the gaps occupy 10% of the tracks, so the 512K bytes per track (or 4M bits) occupy 90% of the track. The length of the outermost track is 3.5 or about 11 inches.
    • 90% of this distance, or about 9.9 inches, holds 4 megabits. Hence the density of bits in the occupied portion of the track is about 420,000 bits per inch.
disk controller
Disk Controller

1. Buffer data in and out of disk.

2. Schedule the disk heads.

3. Manage the ``bad blocks'' so they are not used.

disk access time
Disk access time
  • Latency of the disk (access time): The time to bring block X, to main memory, from disk after the “read block” command is issued.
  • Main components of access time are:
    • Seek time = time to move heads to proper cylinder.
    • Rotational delay = time for desired block to come under head.
    • Transfer time = time during which the block passes under head.
    • Others, including CPU time to issue I/O, time for disk controller to process data, contention for the controller, bus, memory, etc. Negligible; “typical” value is 0!
cause of rotational delay
Cause of rotational delay

On average, the desired sector will be about half

way around the circle when the heads arrive at

the cylinder.

megatron 747 timing example
MEGATRON 747 Timing Example
  • What’s the min, avg, and max for reading a 16,384-byte block from the Megatron 747 disk?
  • Some timing properties of the Megatron 747 disk:
    • The disk rotates at 7200 rpm; i.e., it makes one rotation in 8.33 milliseconds (0.00833 secs).
    • To move the head assembly between cylinders takes 1 ms to start and stop, plus 1 additional millisecond for every 1000 cylinders traveled.
      • Thus, move from the innermost to the outermost track, a distance of 16,383 tracks, in about 17.38 milliseconds.
min time to read a 16 384 byte block
MIN time to read a 16,384-byte block

That is, the block might be on a track over which the head is positioned already, and the first sector of the block might be about to pass under the head.

  • The minimum time, is just the transfer time.
  • Since there are 4096 bytes per sector on the Megatron 747, the block occupies 4 sectors.
    • The heads must therefore pass over 4 sectors and the 3 gaps between them.
  • Recall that:
    • the gaps represent 10% of the circle and sectors the remaining 90%,
    • i.e. 36 degrees are occupied by gaps and 324 degrees by the sectors.
    • there are 128 gaps and 128 sectors around the circle,
  • So
    • a gap is 36/128 = 0.28 degrees, and
    • a sector is 324/128 = 2.53 degrees
  • The total degrees covered by 3 gaps and 4 sectors is: 3*0.28+4*2.53=10.97 degrees
  • The transfer time is thus (10.97/360) x 0.00833 =.000253secs or a quarter of millisecond.

That is, 10.97/360 is the fraction of a rotation need to read the entire block, and .00833 seconds is the amount of time for a 360-degree rotation.

max time to read a 16 384 byte block
MAX time to read a 16,384-byte block

The heads are positioned at the innermost cylinder, and the block we want to read is on the outermost cylinder (or vice versa).

  • Thus, the first thing the controller must do is move the heads. As we observed above, the time to move the Megatron 747 heads across all cylinders is about 17.38 ms. This quantity is the seek time for the read.
  • The worst thing that can happen when the heads arrive at the correct cylinder is that the beginning of the desired block has just passed under the head.
  • Assuming we must read the block starting at the beginning, we have to wait essentially a full rotation, or 8.33 ms for the beginning of the block to reach the head again.
  • Once that happens, we have only to wait an amount equal to the transfer time, 0.25 ms, to read the entire block.
  • Thus, the worst-case latency is 17.38+8.33+0.25=25.96 ms.
avg time to read a 16 384 byte block
AVG time to read a 16,384-byte block
  • Two of the components of the latency are easy to compute:
    • the transfer time is always 0.25 milliseconds and
    • the average rotational latency is the time to rotate the disk half way around, or 4.17 milliseconds.
  • We might suppose that the average seek time is just the time to move across half the tracks.
  • Not quite right, since typically, the heads are initially somewhere near the middle and therefore will have to move less than half the distance, on average, to the desired cylinder.
  • Assume the heads are initially at any of the 16,384 cylinders with equal probability.
    • If at cylinder 1 or cylinder 16,384, then the average number of tracks to move is (1 + 2 +... + 16383)/16384, or about 8192 tracks.
    • At the middle cylinder 8192, the head is equally likely to move in or out, and either way, it will move on average about a quarter of the tracks (4096)
  • So, what’s the average number of tracks to travel?

AVG time to read a 16,384-byte block

Average number of cyls to travel, if the heads are currently positioned at cyl i.

Avg number of cyls to travel if the block is on the left.

Probability the block is on the left

Probability the block is on the right

Avg number of cyls to travel if the block is on the right.

writing and modifying blocks
Writing and Modifying Blocks
  • Writing same as reading, unless we verify written blocks.
    • Takes another rotation of disk.
    • Verify by observing parity check bits.
    • Try again if fail (same for reading a block).
  • Modifying a block requires:
    • Read the block into main memory.
    • Modify the block there.
    • Write the block back to disk.