"Storage performance has failed to keep up with that of other
major components of computer systems. Hard disks have gotten
larger, but their speed has not kept pace with the relative speed
improvements in RAM and CPU technology. The potential for your hard
drive to be your system's performance bottleneck makes knowing how
fast your disks and filesystems are and getting quantitative
measurements on any improvements you can make to the disk subsystem
important. One way to make disk access faster is to use more disks
in combination, as in a RAID-5 configuration.
"To get a basic idea of how fast a physical disk can be accessed
from Linux you can use the hdparm tool with the -T and -t
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