A Case for Hardware-Based Demand Paging

Gyusun Lee, Wenjing Jin, Wonsuk Song, Jeonghun Gong, Jonghyun Bae, Tae Jun Ham, Jae W. Lee, Jinkyu Jeong

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

15 Citations (Scopus)


The virtual memory system is pervasive in today's computer systems, and demand paging is the key enabling mechanism for it. At a page miss, the CPU raises an exception, and the page fault handler is responsible for fetching the requested page from the disk. The OS typically performs a context switch to run other threads as traditional disk access is slow. However, with the widespread adoption of high-performance storage devices, such as low-latency solid-state drives (SSDs), the traditional OS-based demand paging is no longer effective because a considerable portion of the demand paging latency is now spent inside the OS kernel. Thus, this paper makes a case for hardware-based demand paging that mostly eliminates OS involvement in page miss handling to provide a near-disk-access-time latency for demand paging. To this end, two architectural extensions are proposed: LBA-augmented page table that moves I/O stack operations to the control plane and Storage Management Unit that enables CPU to directly issue I/O commands without OS intervention in most cases. OS support is also proposed to detach tasks for memory resource management from the critical path. The evaluation results using both a cycle-level simulator and a real x86 machine with an ultra-low latency SSD show that the proposed scheme reduces the demand paging latency by 37.0%, and hence improves the performance of FIO read random benchmark by up to 57.1% and a NoSQL server by up to 27.3% with real-world workloads. As a side effect of eliminating OS intervention, the IPC of the user-level code is also increased by up to 7.0%.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings - 2020 ACM/IEEE 47th Annual International Symposium on Computer Architecture, ISCA 2020
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781728146614
Publication statusPublished - 2020 May
Event47th ACM/IEEE Annual International Symposium on Computer Architecture, ISCA 2020 - Virtual, Online, Spain
Duration: 2020 May 302020 Jun 3

Publication series

NameProceedings - International Symposium on Computer Architecture
ISSN (Print)1063-6897


Conference47th ACM/IEEE Annual International Symposium on Computer Architecture, ISCA 2020
CityVirtual, Online

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 IEEE.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Hardware and Architecture


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