:Why VMIO dir works better if directories are placed close to each other? I
:think it only makes the cache data of an individual directory stay in the
:memory longer.  Is there a way to measure the effectiveness of the disk
:drive's cache?

    I wasn't being clear enough.  There are two different things going
    on.  VMIO works better because it is capable of caching many, many
    more directories using the VM page cache (all of physical memory) rather
    then buffer malloc space (which is limited to a few megabytes).  The
    buffer cache in general will also operate better with the improved 
    locality of reference for the inodes underlying the files in the

    The disk drive's cache works better because it will cache things 
    immediately that the VM system caches across a longer span of time.
    If you are scanning a large number of small directories you can wind up
    with a situation where each small directory is being held in a 
    file fragment (1K on disk).  Several small directories may wind up
    together on-disk, either contiguous or very close by.  The VM page 
    cache cannot cache an entire filesystem block (potentially holdling
    8 small directories) in a single operation oweing to the virtual,
    file-oriented nature of the cache.  However, the disk drive's cache CAN,
    and will.  The result is that you are suddenly able to read a huge number
    of small directories with 1/10 the number of hard seeks on the disk that
    you would otherwise have needed.

    Prior to this change, all those small directories were not near each
    other on-disk.  Not only was the VM cache not able to cache the 
    surrounding blocks, but even if the disk drive did the data would wind
    up being thrown away anyway because the surrounding blocks were not where
    the other directories resided.

    Disk drives are more limited by whatever seeking they have to do then by
    the amount of data they are transfering.  Anything that reduces seeking
    has a huge effect on performance, and this is what is accomplished by
    the patch.


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