Carver: Finding Important Parameters for Storage System Tuning


Zhen Cao, Stony Brook University; Geoff Kuenning, Harvey Mudd College; Erez Zadok, Stony Brook University


Storage systems usually have many parameters that affect their behavior. Tuning those parameters can provide significant gains in performance. Alas, both manual and automatic tuning methods struggle due to the large number of parameters and exponential number of possible configurations. Since previous research has shown that some parameters have greater performance impact than others, focusing on a smaller number of more important parameters can speed up auto-tuning systems because they would have a smaller state space to explore. In this paper, we propose Carver, which uses (1) a variance-based metric to quantify storage parameters’ importance, (2) Latin Hypercube Sampling to sample huge parameter spaces; and (3) a greedy but efficient parameter-selection algorithm that can identify important parameters. We evaluated Carver on datasets consisting of more than 500,000 experiments on 7 file systems, under 4 representative workloads. Carver successfully identified important parameters for all file systems and showed that importance varies with different workloads. We demonstrated that Carver was able to identify a near-optimal set of important parameters in our datasets. We showed Carver’s efficiency by testing it with a small fraction of our dataset; it was able to identify the same set of important parameters with as little as 0.4% of the whole dataset.

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@inproceedings {246156,
author = {Zhen Cao and Geoff Kuenning and Erez Zadok},
title = {Carver: Finding Important Parameters for Storage System Tuning},
booktitle = {18th {USENIX} Conference on File and Storage Technologies ({FAST} 20)},
year = {2020},
isbn = {978-1-939133-12-0},
address = {Santa Clara, CA},
pages = {43--57},
url = {},
publisher = {{USENIX} Association},
month = feb,

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