I/O scheduling

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For process scheduling, see scheduling (computing). For process management, see process management (computing).

Input/output (I/O) scheduling is the method that computer operating systems use to decide which order block I/O operations will be submitted to storage volumes. I/O Scheduling is sometimes called 'disk scheduling'.


The position of I/O schedulers within various layers of the Linux kernel's storage stack.[1]

I/O schedulers can have many purposes depending on the goal of the I/O scheduler. Some common ones are:

  • To minimize time wasted by hard disk seeks
  • To prioritize a certain processes' I/O requests
  • To give a share of the disk bandwidth to each running process
  • To guarantee that certain requests will be issued before a particular deadline


I/O Scheduling usually has to work with hard disks which share the property that there is long access time for requests which are far away from the current position of the disk head (this operation is called a seek). To minimize the effect this has on system performance, most I/O schedulers implement a variant of the elevator algorithm which re-orders the incoming randomly ordered requests into the order in which they will be found on the disk.

Common scheduling disciplines[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Werner Fischer; Georg Schönberger (2015-06-01). "Linux Storage Stack Diagram". Thomas-Krenn.AG. Retrieved 2015-06-08. 
  2. ^ "mClock: Handling Throughput Variability for Hypervisor IO Scheduling". VMware Inc. 

Further reading[edit]