Hard Disks Have Feelings, Shouting Hurts Them
Article by George Norman
On 07 Jan 2009
Who says that nerdy guys from data centers are boring? Take one Sun employee, namely Brendan Gregg, a data center, and plenty of time to spare and you end up with the discovery that shouting at a hard disk will increase its latency time, which in turn affects the machine’s performance.

Brendan Gregg showcased his discovery in the simplest way possible: he made a video where he records the disk’s latency prior and during his shouting session, which I have to say is pretty amusing. For most times when people are yelling at their machines they are actually upset about something and possibly throwing punches at the monitor and throwing the keyboard around (check out this video, with YouTube deep link feature).


The conclusion of Brendan Gregg’s video presentation is a fairly simple one: no matter how much you optimize your hard disk, no matter how much you try to make it work faster and better, yelling at it will have the exact opposite effect. If you have to shout, try not to do it near your machine – take a break, relax, and come back only after you have cleared your head. The simple truth of the matter is that when you are upset, or better yet angry, you will be hard pressed to focus on the task at hand (which is better than having to wait 20 minutes for Windows Vista to load and be bored stiff).

There are a couple of questions that bug me. First of all, how did Brendan Gregg come around this conclusion? It’s not like he just happened to be measuring disk latency while at the same moment someone was shouting their head off at the hard disks, is it? The second thing that I am curious about is this: if you place your machine in a very noisy environment, will that affect HDD latency?

If you would like to watch the video presentation on how shouting influences your hard disk, please click here.

Tags: Sun, Hard Disk, Latency
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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