There's an interesting on-going series of articles on file system latency over at Brendan's Blog. Usually when system administrators look into I/O performance, we look at the I/O of the disks. This is usually fine for a rough estimate of raw disk performance, but there's a lot more going on between the actual application and the disk: buffers, cache, the file system, etc. Brendan goes into detail regarding these matters by examining I/O performance of a MySQL database at both the disk and file system level:
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