Analysis of Correctable Errors in the IBM 3380 Disk File
by T. D. Howell
A method of analyzing the correctable errors in disk files is presented. It allows one to infer the most probable error in the encoded-data stream given only the unencoded readback and error-correction information. This method is applied to the errors observed in seven months of operation of four IBM 3380 head-disk assemblies. It is shown that nearly all the observed errors can be explained as single-bit errors at the input to the channel decoder. About 90 percent of the errors were related to imperfections in the disk surfaces. The remaining 10 percent were mostly due to heads which were unusually susceptible to random noise-induced errors.