Getting Good IO from Amazon's EBS

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The performance characteristics of Amazon’s Elastic Block Store are moody, technically opaque and, at times, downright confounding. At Heroku, we’ve spent a lot of time managing EBS disks, and recently I had a very long night trying to figure out how to get the best performance out of the EBS disks, and little did I know I was testing them on a night when they were particularly ornery. On a good day, an EBS can give you 7,000 seeks per second and on a not so good day will give you only 200. On those good days you’ll be singing its praises and on the bad days you’ll be cursing its name. What I think I stumbled on that day was a list of techniques that seem to even out the bumps and get decent performance out of EBS disks even when they are performing badly.

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