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Making Huge Pages Actually Useful

Panwar, Ashish and Prasad, Aravinda and Gopinath, K (2018) Making Huge Pages Actually Useful. In: ACM SIGPLAN NOTICES, 53 (2). pp. 679-692.

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1145/3173162.3173203


The virtual-to-physical address translation overhead, a major performance bottleneck for modern workloads, can be effectively alleviated with huge pages. However, since huge pages must be mapped contiguously, OSs have not been able to use them well because of the memory fragmentation problem despite hardware support for huge pages being available for nearly two decades. This paper presents a comprehensive study of the interaction of fragmentation with huge pages in the Linux kernel. We observe that when huge pages are used, problems such as high CPU utilization and latency spikes occur because of unnecessary work (e.g., useless page migration) performed by memory management related subsystems due to the poor handling of unmovable (i.e., kernel) pages. This behavior is even more harmful in virtualized systems where unnecessary work may be performed in both guest and host OSs. We present Illuminator, an efficient memory manager that provides various subsystems, such as the page allocator, the ability to track all unmovable pages. It allows subsystems to make informed decisions and eliminate unnecessary work which in turn leads to cost-effective huge page allocations. Illuminator reduces the cost of compaction (up to 99%), improves application performance (up to 2.3x) and reduces the maximum latency of MySQL database server (by 30x).

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: 23rd International Conference on Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems (ASPLOS), Williamsburg, VA, MAR 24-28, 2018
Keywords: Address Translation; Memory Fragmentation; Memory Compaction; Huge Pages
Department/Centre: Division of Electrical Sciences > Computer Science & Automation
Depositing User: Francis Jayakanth
Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2019 10:19
Last Modified: 24 Jan 2019 10:19
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/61408

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