Often, the bottleneck of my laptop is the disk. When doing some disk-intensive computations, automatically-started background processes like
find /something etc. kick in, making things even worse. They are set to be nice, but it doesn't help since CPU is not the problem, I/O is.
The question: what to do to alleviate the problem (short of killing them manually), and more generally, is there a mechanism like nice, but taking I/O into account?
Even more generally, how to improve I/O responsiveness of a Linux (Ubuntu 14.04) system? At present, when one app is maxing out disk usage, the system is veeeery slow to respond - for example, it takes forever to open a web page in Firefox (even though the system is not swapping; it get worse when it is swapping). Swappiness is set to 0, it it matters.