Date of Original Version



Technical Report

Rights Management

All Rights Reserved

Abstract or Description

MEMS-based storage devices are seen by many as promising alternatives to disk drives. Fabricated using conventional CMOS processes, MEMS-based storage consists of thousands of small, mechanical probe tips that access gigabytes of high-density, nonvolatile magnetic storage. This paper takes a first step towards understanding the performance characteristics of these devices by mapping them onto a disk-like metaphor. Using simulation models based on the mechanics equations governing the devices' operation, this work explores how different physical characteristics (e.g., actuator forces and per-tip data rates) impact the design trade-offs and performance of MEMS-based storage. Overall results indicate that average access times for MEMS-based storage are 6.5 times faster than for a modern disk (1.5 ms vs. 9.7 ms). Results from filesystem and database benchmarks show that this improvement reduces application I/O stall times up to 70%, resulting in overall performance improvements of 3X.


Superceded by Proceedings of ACM SIGMETRICS 2000, Santa Clara, California, June 17-21, 2000.