Operations with Whole Pages

Modern block devices can — despite their name — transfer not just individual blocks but much larger units of data in a single operation, thus boosting system performance. This is reflected by a strong kernel focus on algorithms and structures that use pages as the elementary units of transfer between block devices and memory. Buffer-by-buffer transfer acts as a substantial brake on performance when handling complete pages. In the course of redesign of the block layer, BIOs were introduced during the development of 2.5 as a replacement for buffers to handle transfers with block devices. Four new functions were added to the kernel to support the reading and writing of one or more pages:

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