Revamping Storage Class Memory With Hardware Automated Memory-Over-Storage Solution

Published in International Symposium on Computer Architecture (ISCA), 2021

Large persistent memories such as NVDIMM have been perceived as a disruptive memory technology, because they can maintain the state of a system even after a power failure and allow the system to recover quickly. However, overheads incurred by a heavy software-stack intervention seriously negate the benefits of such memories. First, to significantly reduce the software stack overheads, we propose HAMS, a hardware automated Memory-over-Storage (MoS) solution. Specifically, HAMS aggregates the capacity of NVDIMM and ultra-low latency flash archives (ULL-Flash) into a single large memory space, which can be used as a working memory expansion or persistent memory expansion, in an OS-transparent manner. HAMS resides in the memory controller hub and manages its MoS address pool over conventional DDR and NVMe interfaces; it employs a simple hardware cache to serve all the memory requests from the host MMU after mapping the storage space of ULL-Flash to the memory space of NVDIMM. Second, to make HAMS more energy-efficient and reliable, we propose an “advanced HAMS” which removes unnecessary data transfers between NVDIMM and ULL-Flash after optimizing the datapath and hardware modules of HAMS. This approach unleashes the ULL-Flash and its NVMe controller from the storage box and directly connects the HAMS datapath to NVDIMM over the conventional DDR4 interface. Our evaluations show that HAMS and advanced HAMS can offer 97% and 119% higher system performance than a software-based NVDIMM design, while costing 41% and 45% lower energy, respectively.

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Recommended citation: Zhang, Jie, Miryeong Kwon, Donghyun Gouk, Sungjoon Koh, Nam Sung Kim, Mahmut Taylan Kandemir, and Myoungsoo Jung. “Revamping storage class memory with hardware automated memory-over-storage solution.” In 2021 ACM/IEEE 48th Annual International Symposium on Computer Architecture (ISCA), pp. 762-775. IEEE, 2021.