Thesios: Synthesizing Accurate Counterfactual I/O Traces from I/O Samples

Soroush Ghodrati
Selene Moon
Martin Maas
ASPLOS 2024, Association for Computing Machinery


Representative modeling of I/O activity is crucial when designing large-scale distributed storage systems. Particularly important use cases are counterfactual “what-if” analyses that assess the impact of anticipated or hypothetical new storage policies or hardware prior to deployment. We propose Thesios, a methodology to accurately synthesize such hypothetical full-resolution I/O traces by carefully combining down-sampled I/O traces collected from multiple disks attached to multiple storage servers. Applying this approach to real-world traces that a real ready routinely sampled at Google, we show that our synthesized traces achieve 95–99.5% accuracy in read/write request numbers, 90–97% accuracy in utilization, and 80–99.8% accuracy in read latency compared to metrics collected from actual disks. We demonstrate how The-sios enables diverse counterfactual I/O trace synthesis and analyses of hypothetical policy, hardware, and server changes through four case studies: (1) studying the effects of changing disk’s utilization, fullness, and capacity, (2) evaluating new data placement policy, (3) analyzing the impact on power and performance of deploying disks with reduced rotations-per-minute (RPM), and (4) understanding the impact of increased buffer cache size on a storage server. Without Thesios, such counterfactual analyses would require costly and potentially risky A/B experiments in production.