Seems Linux has IO scheduling through a program called ionice.
Has anyone here experimented with using it rather than
vacuum sleep settings?
This program sets the io scheduling class and priority
for a program. As of this writing, Linux supports 3 scheduling
Idle. A program running with idle io priority will only get disk
time when no other program has asked for disk io for a defined
grace period. The impact of idle io processes on normal system
activity should be zero.[...]
Best effort. This is the default scheduling class for any process
that hasn't asked for a specific io priority. Programs inherit the
CPU nice setting for io priorities. [...]