Raspberry Pi Benchmarking File IO
using sysbench, sd card and attached external hard disk

Set up sysbench

  • Earlier I used it to benchmark the cpu here.
  • So, I used sysbench to benchmark the file system.
  • sysbench can be installed using apt-get
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install sysbench
    

Benchmarking cases

  1. HDD - FAT32 mounted at /mnt/storage/
  2. HDD - NTFS mounted at /mnt/transfers/
  3. SD CARD - EXT4 mounted at /

Benchmarking Preparation

  1. Create directory benchmark in all three locations

    mkdir /mnt/storage/benchmark
    mkdir /mnt/transfers/benchmark
    mkdir ~/benchmark
    
  2. Create required test files

    $ cd /mnt/storage/benchmark
    $ sysbench --test=fileio --file-total-size=5G prepare
    sysbench 0.4.12:  multi-threaded system evaluation benchmark
    
    128 files, 40960Kb each, 5120Mb total
    Creating files for the test...
    
  3. Copy the files to other 2 locations

    cp * /mnt/transfers/benchmark/
    cp * ~/benchmark/
    

Benchmark

  • Change to required directory.
  • Run the benchmark.
  • Do this for all 3 cases.

Output for all cases shown below.

  1. HDD - FAT32

    $ cd /mnt/storage/benchmark
    $ sysbench --test=fileio --file-total-size=5G \
    --file-test-mode=rndrw --init-rng=on \
    --max-time=300 --max-requests=0 run
    
    sysbench 0.4.12:  multi-threaded system evaluation benchmark
    
    Running the test with following options:
    Number of threads: 1
    Initializing random number generator from timer.
    
    Extra file open flags: 0
    128 files, 40Mb each
    5Gb total file size
    Block size 16Kb
    Number of random requests for random IO: 0
    Read/Write ratio for combined random IO test: 1.50
    Periodic FSYNC enabled, calling fsync() each 100 requests.
    Calling fsync() at the end of test, Enabled.
    Using synchronous I/O mode
    Doing random r/w test
    Threads started!
    Time limit exceeded, exiting...
    Done.
    
    Operations performed:  27810 Read, 18540 Write, 59264 Other = 105614 Total
    Read 434.53Mb  Written 289.69Mb  Total transferred 724.22Mb  (2.414Mb/sec)
      154.49 Requests/sec executed
    
    Test execution summary:
        total time:                          300.0140s
        total number of events:              46350
        total time taken by event execution: 226.9894
        per-request statistics:
             min:                                  0.08ms
             avg:                                  4.90ms
             max:                                 28.78ms
             approx.  95 percentile:              11.81ms
    
    Threads fairness:
        events (avg/stddev):           46350.0000/0.00
        execution time (avg/stddev):   226.9894/0.00
    
  2. HDD - NTFS

    $ cd /mnt/transfers/benchmark
    $ sysbench --test=fileio --file-total-size=5G \
             --file-test-mode=rndrw --init-rng=on \
             --max-time=300 --max-requests=0 run
    sysbench 0.4.12:  multi-threaded system evaluation benchmark
    
    Running the test with following options:
    Number of threads: 1
    Initializing random number generator from timer.
    
    Extra file open flags: 0
    128 files, 40Mb each
    5Gb total file size
    Block size 16Kb
    Number of random requests for random IO: 0
    Read/Write ratio for combined random IO test: 1.50
    Periodic FSYNC enabled, calling fsync() each 100 requests.
    Calling fsync() at the end of test, Enabled.
    Using synchronous I/O mode
    Doing random r/w test
    Threads started!
    Time limit exceeded, exiting...
    Done.
    
    Operations performed:  20629 Read, 13752 Write, 43904 Other = 78285 Total
    Read 322.33Mb  Written 214.88Mb  Total transferred 537.2Mb  (1.7906Mb/sec)
      114.60 Requests/sec executed
    
    Test execution summary:
        total time:                          300.0108s
        total number of events:              34381
        total time taken by event execution: 241.7225
        per-request statistics:
             min:                                  0.09ms
             avg:                                  7.03ms
             max:                                 70.43ms
             approx.  95 percentile:              12.80ms
    
    Threads fairness:
        events (avg/stddev):           34381.0000/0.00
        execution time (avg/stddev):   241.7225/0.00
    
  3. SD CARD - EXT4

    $ cd ~/benchmark
    $ sysbench --test=fileio --file-total-size=5G \
    --file-test-mode=rndrw --init-rng=on \
    --max-time=300 --max-requests=0 run
    sysbench 0.4.12:  multi-threaded system evaluation benchmark
    
    Running the test with following options:
    Number of threads: 1
    Initializing random number generator from timer.
    
    Extra file open flags: 0
    128 files, 40Mb each
    5Gb total file size
    Block size 16Kb
    Number of random requests for random IO: 0
    Read/Write ratio for combined random IO test: 1.50
    Periodic FSYNC enabled, calling fsync() each 100 requests.
    Calling fsync() at the end of test, Enabled.
    Using synchronous I/O mode
    Doing random r/w test
    Threads started!
    Time limit exceeded, exiting...
    Done.
    
    Operations performed:  1020 Read, 680 Write, 2122 Other = 3822 Total
    Read 15.938Mb  Written 10.625Mb  Total transferred 26.562Mb  (90.526Kb/sec)
    5.66 Requests/sec executed
    
    Test execution summary:
    total time:                          300.4667s
    total number of events:              1700
    total time taken by event execution: 8.3414
    per-request statistics:
         min:                                  0.10ms
         avg:                                  4.91ms
         max:                                821.14ms
         approx.  95 percentile:               2.32ms
    
    Threads fairness:
    events (avg/stddev):           1700.0000/0.00
    execution time (avg/stddev):   8.3414/0.00
    

Observation and notes

  • HDD - FAT32(2.414Mb/sec) > HDD - NTFS(1.7906Mb/sec) >>>>> SD CARD - EXT4(90.526Kb/sec).
  • So, in speed comparison,
    • HDD - FAT32 = 1.35 x HDD - NTFS
    • HDD - FAT32 = 26.67 x SD CARD - EXT4
    • HDD - NTFS = 19.77 x SD CARD - EXT4
  • In short, HDD is like 20x faster than SD card.
  • As in any benchmark, take this with a pinch of salt.
  • I repeated each case couple of times and didn't see much deviation in the overall speed.

Clean up

  • Remove the benchmark folders.
  • Or may be if you want empty benchmark folders, then run sysbench --test=fileio cleanup in each folder.

Hardware and OS

  • I was using Raspberry Pi 1 Model B for this setup.
  • It is running Raspbian GNU/Linux 8 (jessie)
  • Internal HDD - Seagate Barracuda 7200.12, 1TB - connected via USB enclosure.
  • SD Card - Transcend 16 GB SDHC Class 10

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About Author

Sakthi Priyan H
Passionate Programmer

  • I am passionate about building excellent teams, processes and systems.
  • Primarily I use Java, Scala and Python for building various systems and tools.
  • Building API services, Big data processing and Machine Learning systems in Crayon Data.
  • Also, interested in Golang and bulding web apps using Javascript ecosystem.
  • I wrote my first program in BASIC in 1998, Passionate about computers since then.