DCS-ctrl: A fast and flexible device-Control mechanism for device-Centric server architecture

Dongup Kwon, Jaehyung Ahn, Dongju Chae, Mohammadamin Ajdari, Jaewon Lee, Suheon Bae, Youngsok Kim, Jangwoo Kim

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

8 Citations (Scopus)


Modern high-performance servers leverage a large number of emerging peripheral devices (e.g., data processing accelerators, non-volatile memory storage, high-bandwidth network cards) to meet ever-increasing performance demands of server applications. However, as such servers experience severe kernel overhead due to frequently invoked device operations (e.g., buffer management and data copy), server architects have proposed various hardware and software approaches to enable direct communications among the devices. Unfortunately, existing direct device-to-device (D2D) communication schemes still suffer from low performance and the lack of flexibility. First, software-based schemes depend on complicated kernel routines and necessitate multiple hardware-software and user-kernel boundary crossings, which significantly limit the performance improvement opportunities from direct D2D communications. On the other hand, hardware-based schemes require tight integration and custom-built devices, preventing architects from flexibly adding off-the-shelf devices. In this paper, we propose DCS-ctrl, a novel Hardware-based Device-Control (HDC) mechanism for Device-Centric Server (DCS) architecture to provide fast and CPU-efficient direct D2D communications among a large number of off-the-shelf peripheral devices. The key idea of DCS-ctrl is to implement a low-cost and flexible device-control mechanism on an independent FPGA device called HDC Engine. As HDC Engine manages all data and control transfers among devices at the hardware level, the server achieves high performance, scalability, and flexibility. First, optimizing both data and control paths at the hardware level minimizes the latency of inter-device communications. Second, implementing FPGA-based reconfigurable device controllers enables direct D2D communications among commodity devices and thus improves per-device flexibility. Third, merging heterogeneous device operations with intermediate data processing supports creates more opportunities for direct inter-device communications in server applications. Our DCS-ctrl prototype reduces the latency of software-based direct D2D communications by 42% and the CPU utilization by 52%.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings - 2018 ACM/IEEE 45th Annual International Symposium on Computer Architecture, ISCA 2018
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781538659847
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jul 19
Event45th ACM/IEEE Annual International Symposium on Computer Architecture, ISCA 2018 - Los Angeles, United States
Duration: 2018 Jun 22018 Jun 6

Publication series

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


Conference45th ACM/IEEE Annual International Symposium on Computer Architecture, ISCA 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityLos Angeles

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 IEEE.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Hardware and Architecture


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