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Hardware basics

  • Access to data in memory is much faster than access to data on disk.

  • Disk seeks: No data is transferred from disk while the disk head is being positioned.

  • Therefore: Transferring one large chunk of data from disk to memory is faster than transferring many small chunks.

  • Disk I/O is block-based: Reading and writing of entire blocks (as opposed to smaller chunks).

  • Block sizes: 8KB to 256 KB.

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