I/O Spikes

What Does I/O Spikes Mean?

I/O spikes are extreme changes in network demands that can cause certain impacts on distributed computing systems. This general term can be used to describe the different kinds of network or system impacts that may be problematic for planners and IT professionals.


Techopedia Explains I/O Spikes

One of the common scenarios where I/O spikes are a problem is in a network or system with a storage area network. Here, stored data are distributed across a range of containers and are available to multiple servers. What happens with this and other kinds of distributed networks is that high demands on data require a lot of server activity, and if a lot of this activity happens at once, it produces I/O spikes.

Professionals addressing I/O spikes often talk about “latency issues” or “problems with throughput” on a network, all of which are technical ways of saying that I/O spikes are causing a slowdown. They may cause server requests to slow, or even time out, which leads planners to look at the infrastructure handling the data requests. It is common for client companies to ask their vendors about services that experience I/O spikes to try to pinpoint problems in a sophisticated IT architecture.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret 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 IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.