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Disk scheduling: FCFS vs.SSTF revisited

By Micha Hofri

Communications of the ACM, Vol. 23 No. 11, Pages 645-653

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We report on a rather extensive simulation effort directed at evaluating the merits of two scheduling strategies, FCFS and SSTF, for moving-arm disks under stationary request arrival process. For First-Come-First-Served (FCFS) scheduling, analytic results for the mean waiting time are also given (in a closed form). If the objective of a schedule is to minimize the mean waiting time (or queue size) and its variance, the results seem to confirm the overall superiority of Shortest-Seek-Time-First (SSTF), particularly for medium and heavy traffic. This holds also when the input is highly correlated or addresses the cylinders nonuniformly. These results contradict some statements published in recent years. The domain of policies where SSTF is optimal is considered. The simulation methodology is described in some detail.

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