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Communications of the ACM

Communications of the ACM

Estimating file access time of floppy disks

Small computers often use floppy disks for storage. Since such disks are significantly slower than hard disks, the response time of a given application program is due predominantly to the time required to access data in files. Access time is dependent on three factors: hardware (disk drive and interface), the operating system in use, and the patterns of file access of application programs. A simple-to-use method of predicting access times with good accuracy is presented. The method makes use of simple calibration experiments that provide information related to the hardware and operating system characteristics of the system in use. This is combined with patterns of file access information for a given application program to predict access time for that program. Actual examples for several small computer systems are presented.

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