I/O Bottleneck

What Does I/O Bottleneck Mean?

An I/O bottleneck is a problem where a system does not have fast enough input/output performance. I/O bottlenecks can be caused by various things and require various solutions. Systems analysts must look closely at where the problem is and try to determine why users may be experiencing slower rates of I/O.


Techopedia Explains I/O Bottleneck

Many problems associated with I/O bottlenecks happen because data transaction processes simply have not matched the advancements in processor speed and memory capacity. Some point to Moore’s law, which refers to the doubling of transistors on a circuit, which also supported the tremendous growth in computer processing and memory storage throughout the late 20th and early 21st centuries. When I/O cannot keep up, significant I/O bottlenecks emerge.

Experts also promote many different solutions for different I/O bottlenecks. Some are more broad — for instance, in some cases, a general I/O bottleneck can be mitigated by adding RAM or utilizing different kinds of Ethernet connectivity in a network. However, other kinds of I/O bottlenecks may require other types of solutions — for example, some experts point to common causes of storage I/O bottlenecks that have to do with storage. Some I/O bottlenecks are caused by the redundant array of independent disks (RAID) design, where too few RAID components are trying to handle an excessive workload. Yet some other I/O bottleneck problems may be due to an insufficient cache or memory allocation that does not match the needs of the system overall. In virtual networks, individual components can cause an I/O bottleneck.

What experts agree on is that just changing one single component of the greater structure often does not work. It is necessary to look at the comprehensive setup in order to make sure that I/O bottlenecks do not just pop up somewhere else down the line. Newer types of engineering techniques such as parallel processing, more distributed server networks and other innovations can help with addressing I/O bottlenecks and allow IT managers to use ultra-fast computers and large memory banks more successfully.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…