memif is a Linux-compatible OS service for managing modern heterogeneous memory.
Memory in modern computers is embracing layers that have disparate capacity, bandwidth, latency, and power consumption. Towards better overall performance and efficiency, we advocate that software should directly manage data move within such heterogeneous memory.
To this end, we build memif, a Linux OS module that supports asynchronous, DMA-accelerated memory move. Unlike userspace DMA drivers, memif is protected and compatible with commodity OSes. Its low-overhead, low-latency interface is constructed based on two primary ideas:
Making user and kernel directly share lock-free data structures, including a unique red-blue lock-free queue;
Using a kernel thread to fetch memory move requests and post completion notifications without synchronizing with applications.
As of 12/2015, the prototype of memif works on top of TI’s Keystone2 SoC. The Keystone2 features a heterogeneous memory hierarchy: fast, medium-sized on-chip SRAM (called MSMC) and large, slow DRAM.
As of 6/2016, an x86 porting is available.
[ASPLOS’16] "memif: Towards Programming Heterogeneous Memory Asynchronously," Felix Xiaozhu Lin and Xu Liu, to appear at Proc. ACM Int. Conf. Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems (ASPLOS), March 2016.
memif was supported in part by NSF Award CNS-1464157 and NSF Award CCF-1464357.
We thank Texas Instruments for their kind donation of Keystone2 development boards.
memif has benefited from various projects, for instance
the “fake” NUMA support for ARM
All the userspace programs and kernel modules resulted from this project are under FreeBSD license.
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