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There is an iprelay (or ip_relay) package to shape TCP bandwidth, and it is really useful to test how stuff works on slow connections.

Is there something similar to iprelay, which will allow me to shape filesystem write (and / or read, independently) speed? Preferably, just for some directory tree that I run my tests against, so that everything else is still fast. (Note that it is for developer machine testing / debugging only, I do not need it to be secure, to do load balancing and other production stuff.)

I'm thinking about using iprelay with sshfs or something, but it seems to me a bit too convoluted. Any better methods out there?

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Check out blkio and cgroups: http://sourceforge.net/apps/trac/ioband/wiki/blkio-cgroup

There is also an earlier variant for this, only using pids: http://kerneltrap.org/Linux/Dm-band_Block_IO_Bandwidth_Controller

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