Memory region: a system abstraction for managing the complex memory structures of multicore platforms
MetadataShow full item record
The performance of modern many-core systems depends on the effective use of their complex cache and memory structures, and this will likely become more pronounced with the impending arrival of on-chip 3D stacked and non-volatile off-chip byte-addressable memory. Yet to date, operating systems have not treated memory as a first class schedulable resource, embracing memory heterogeneity. This dissertation presents a new software abstraction, called ‘memory region’, which denotes the current set of physical memory pages actively used by workloads. Using this abstraction, memory resources can be scheduled for applications to fully exploit a platform's underlying cache and memory system, thereby gaining improved performance and predictability in execution, particularly for the consolidated workloads seen in virtualized and cloud computing infrastructures. The abstraction's implementation in the Xen hypervisor involves the run-time detection of memory regions, the scheduled mapping of these regions to caches to match performance goals, and maintaining region-to-cache mappings using per-cache page tables. This dissertation makes the following specific contributions. First, its region scheduling method proposes that the location of memory blocks rather than CPU utilization is the principal determinant where workloads are run. It proposes a new scheduling method, the region scheduling that the location of memory blocks determines where the workloads are run. Second, treating memory blocks as first-class resources, new methods for efficient cache management are shown to improve application performance as well as the performance of certain operating system functions. Third, explicit memory scheduling makes it possible to disaggregate operating systems, without the need to change OS sources and with only small markups of target guest OS functionality. With this method, OS functions can be mapped to specific desired platform components, such as file system confined to running on specific cores and using only certain memory resources designated for its use. This can improve performance for applications heavily dependent on certain OS functions, by dynamically providing those functions with the resources needed for their current use, and it can prevent performance-critical application functionality from being needlessly perturbed by OS functions used for other purposes or by other jobs. Fourth, extensions of region scheduling can also help applications deal with the heterogeneous memory resources present in future systems, including on-chip stacked DRAM and NUMA or even NVRAM memory modules. More generally, regions scheduling is shown to apply to memory structures with well-defined differences in memory access latencies.