An Exact Algorithm for the Linear Tape Scheduling Problem


  • Valentin Honoré IN2P3 Computing Center, CNRS, Villeurbanne, France
  • Bertrand Simon IN2P3 Computing Center, CNRS, Villeurbanne, France
  • Frédéric Suter IN2P3 Computing Center, CNRS, Villeurbanne, France Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge



Magnetic Tape, Scheduling, Exact Algorithm, Dynamic Programming, Simulations


Magnetic tapes are often considered as an outdated storage technology, yet they are still used to store huge amounts of data. Their main interests are a large capacity and a low price per gigabyte, which come at the cost of a much larger file access time than on disks. With tapes, finding the right ordering of multiple file accesses is thus key to performance. Moving the reading head back and forth along a kilometer long tape has a non-negligible cost and unnecessary movements thus have to be avoided. However, the optimization of tape request ordering has rarely been studied in the scheduling literature, much less than I/O scheduling on disks. For instance, minimizing the average service time for several read requests on a linear tape remains an open question. Therefore, in this paper, we aim at improving the quality of service experienced by users of tape storage systems, and not only the peak performance of such systems. To this end, we propose a reasonable polynomial-time exact algorithm while this problem and simpler variants have been conjectured NP-hard. We also refine the proposed model by considering U-turn penalty costs accounting for inherent mechanical accelerations. Then, we propose a low-cost variant of our optimal algorithm by restricting the solution space, yet still yielding an accurate suboptimal solution. Finally, we compare our algorithms to existing solutions from the literature on logs of the mass storage management system of a major datacenter. This allows us to assess the quality of previous solutions and the improvement achieved by our low-cost algorithm. Aiming for reproducibility, we make available the complete implementation of the algorithms used in our evaluation, alongside the dataset of tape requests that is, to the best of our knowledge, the first of its kind to be publicly released.




How to Cite

Honoré, V., Simon, B., & Suter, F. (2022). An Exact Algorithm for the Linear Tape Scheduling Problem. Proceedings of the International Conference on Automated Planning and Scheduling, 32(1), 151-159.