Reads and writes are very different beasts - writes deal with
the past and have good knowledge of what to do. But reads
must predict the future.
You need to do two things:
1: Configure the device for a really big readahead window.
Configuring readahead in 2.4 is a pig. Try one of the
echo file_readahead:N > /proc/ide/hda/settings (N is kilobytes)
blockdev --setra M /dev/hda (M is in 512 byte sectors)
echo K > /prov/sys/vm/max-readahead (K is in pages - 4k on x86)
You'll find that one of these makes a difference.
2: Apply http://www.zip.com.au/~akpm/linux/patches/2.4/2.4.19-pre5/read-latency2.patch
which will prevent reads from being penalised by writes.
Or use a -ac kernel, which already has this patch.
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