pVM - Persistent virtual memory for efficient capacity scaling and object storage

Sudarsun Kannan, Ada Gavrilovska, Karsten Schwan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

55 Scopus citations


Next-generation byte-addressable nonvolatile memories (NVMs), such as phase change memory (PCM) and Memristors, promise fast data storage, and more importantly, address DRAM scalability issues. State-of-the-art OS mechanisms for NVMs have focused on improving the block-based virtual file system (VFS) to manage both persistence and the memory capacity scaling needs of applications. However, using the VFS for capacity scaling has several limitations, such as the lack of automatic memory capacity scaling across DRAM and NVM, inefficient use of the processor cache and TLB, and high page access costs. These limitations reduce application performance and also impact applications that use NVM for persistent object storage with flat namespaces, such as photo stores, NoSQL databases, and others. To address such limitations, we propose persistent virtual memory (pVM), a system software abstraction that provides applications with (1) automatic OS- level memory capacity scaling, (2) flexible memory placement policies across NVM, and (3) fast object storage. pVM extends the OS virtual memory (VM) instead of building on the VFS and abstracts NVM as a NUMA node with support for NVMbased memory placement mechanisms. pVM inherits benefits from the cache and TLB-efficient VM subsystem and augments these further by distinguishing between persistent and nonpersistent capacity use of NVM. Additionally, pVM achieves fast persistent storage by further extending the VM subsystem with consistent and durable OS-level persistent metadata. Our evaluation of pVM with memory capacityintensive applications shows a 2.5x speedup and up to 80% lower TLB and cache misses compared to VFS-based systems. pVM's object store provides 2x higher throughput compared to the block-based approach of the state-of-the art solution and up to a 4x reduction in the time spent in the OS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 11th European Conference on Computer Systems, EuroSys 2016
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
ISBN (Electronic)9781450342407
StatePublished - Apr 18 2016
Externally publishedYes
Event11th European Conference on Computer Systems, EuroSys 2016 - London, United Kingdom
Duration: Apr 18 2016Apr 21 2016

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 11th European Conference on Computer Systems, EuroSys 2016


Other11th European Conference on Computer Systems, EuroSys 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Software


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