The speed at which a hard drive can read and write data plays a major role on the performance of your Dedicated, Cloud or VPS server, cloud-based and dedicated ones included. At Hostwinds, we make sure to provide you with servers that are equipped with hard drives that are speedy and reliable.
What’s the Speed of My Drives?
The read and write drive speeds of your cloud or dedicated server are ultimately determined by which type of drives are in use. The two types of drives are HDDs (Hard Disk Drives) and SSDs (Solid State Drives).
HDD (Hard Disk Drive)
Hard Disk Drives (HDDs) use a mechanical arm to read and write your data from the right location on a storage platter.
The maximum speed for these drives are:
150 MB/s Read
140 MB/s Write
SSD (Solid State Drive)
Solid State Drives (SSDs) use flash memory to be able to read and write your data without the need for moving parts, and performs the operations much faster.
The maximum speed for these drives are:
540 MB/s Read
520 MB/s Write
Testing Drive Speed
The following are instructions to be able to test the read and write speed of your drives yourself. Simply connect to your server and follow the instructions below for your operating system.
To begin testing your drive speed in Linux, you must first SSH in to your server. Or if you have direct access or are using VNC and your server has a desktop interface, open a terminal window. Once in a terminal, do the following steps:
- As this is going to write a file to your drive that will not automatically be deleted, you may wish to run this test in a temporary, empty directory. You can create this with mkdir and then cd to move into the directory. This step is optional but recommended.
- Run sync; dd if=/dev/zero of=tempfile bs=1M count=1024; sync. What this does is create and write to the file tempfile with 1024 records of 1MB of data. The command then displays the speed of transfer at the end of the output. Example:
$ sync; dd if=/dev/zero of=tempfile bs=1M count=1024; sync 1024+0 records in 1024+0 records out 1073741824 bytes (1.1 GB) copied, 1.55322 s, 691 MB/s
In the above example, the write speed record for this drive is 691 MB/s.
- Run $ sudo /sbin/sysctl -w vm.drop_caches=3. What this does is clear the system cache, so that the drive will have to read the data off the drive instead of just being able to pull it from cache. If this step is not done, the speed reported will be the read speed from cache, not from the drive. Example:
$ sudo /sbin/sysctl -w vm.drop_caches=3 vm.drop_caches = 3
- Run dd if=tempfile of=/dev/null bs=1M count=1024. What this does is read 1MB worth of data, 1024 times, from the tempfile made in Step 1. Example:
$ dd if=tempfile of=/dev/null bs=1M count=1024 1024+0 records in 1024+0 records out 1073741824 bytes (1.1 GB) copied, 0.775086 s, 1.4 GB/s
In the above example, the read speed record for this drive is 1.4 GB/s.
To begin testing your drive speed in Windows, you must first open either the command prompt or powershell as Administrator. To do this, you can press Win+X and select either Command Prompt (Admin) or Windows Powershell (Admin). Once in a terminal, do the following steps:
- Run winsat disk -drive c. The final letter of the command is the letter for the drive you wish to test and can be changed to test another drive. This command will write to and read from the drive using different methods and return the results. Example:
> winsat disk -drive c Windows System Assessment Tool > Running: Feature Enumeration '' > Run Time 00:00:00.00 > Running: Storage Assessment '-drive c -ran -read' > Run Time 00:00:01.89 > Running: Storage Assessment '-drive c -seq -read' > Run Time 00:00:05.16 > Running: Storage Assessment '-drive c -seq -write' > Run Time 00:00:30.72 > Running: Storage Assessment '-drive c -flush -seq' > Run Time 00:00:18.94 > Running: Storage Assessment '-drive c -flush -ran' > Run Time 00:00:10.17 > Disk Random 16.0 Read 54.77 MB/s 6.6 > Disk Sequential 64.0 Read 3447.34 MB/s 9.3 > Disk Sequential 64.0 Write 374.13 MB/s 7.9 > Average Read Time with Sequential Writes 3.199 ms 6.6 > Latency: 95th Percentile 15.438 ms 4.9 > Latency: Maximum 48.797 ms 7.9 > Average Read Time with Random Writes 2.132 ms 6.8
How Do I Tell What Type of Drives My Server Has?
To determine the type of drives being used in your cloud server, simply log in to your Client Area and the type of drive will be a part of the name of the service.
For example, an SSD Cloud 3 server will appear under “Your Products/Services” as “SSD Cloud 3”
To determine the type of drives being used in your dedicated server, log in to your Client Area and select the dedicated server you wish to check under “Your Products/Services” and click the green “Manage” button. Once on the service management page, click on the “Configurable Options” tab located halfway down the page. The drives in your Dedicated Server will be listed there as “Drive Bay #”, and will state which type of drive they are.
For example, a Dedicated Server with only one SSD will have an SSD listed as “Drive Bay #1”.