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For example, is there a tool or method where I can say (for example) "generate up to 50 MB/s of read activity to this file, but no greater"? Or configure a tiny delay between read operations, which could have basically the same effect? I have a specific need to create an I/O workload that's more deterministic than a normal dd or disk stress test. I'm looking for something that works in Linux...

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'iozone'? 'fio'? have you tried them? –  Denis Sep 14 '12 at 22:27
    
So far I've found the "thinktime" parameter in fio, and the idea of using rsync with --bwlimit. –  twblamer Sep 14 '12 at 23:06

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

You can use cpipe with -s option.

cat /dev/zero | cpipe -s 50000 > /testfile
cat /testfile | cpipe -s 50000 > /dev/null
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Nice suggestion. I was not familiar with that program. –  ewwhite Sep 21 '12 at 2:41

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