Skylight - A window on shingled disk operation

Abutalib Aghayev, Mansour Shafaei, Peter Desnoyers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


We introduce Skylight, a novel methodology that combines software and hardware techniques to reverse engineer key properties of drive-managed Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR) drives. The software part of Skylight measures the latency of controlled I/O operations to infer important properties of drive-managed SMR, including type, structure, and size of the persistent cache; type of cleaning algorithm; type of block mapping; and size of bands. The hardware part of Skylight tracks drive head movements during these tests, using a high-speed camera through an observation window drilled through the cover of the drive. These observations not only confirm inferences from measurements, but resolve ambiguities that arise from the use of latency measurements alone. We show the generality and efficacy of our techniques by running them on top of three emulated and two real SMR drives, discovering valuable performance-relevant details of the behavior of the real SMR drives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number16
JournalACM Transactions on Storage
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Hardware and Architecture


Dive into the research topics of 'Skylight - A window on shingled disk operation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this