ThyNVM: Enabling Software-Transparent Crash Consistency in Persistent Memory Systems

Appeared in Proceedings of the International Symposium on Microarchitecture (MICRO'15).


Emerging byte-addressable nonvolatile memories (NVMs) promise persistent memory, which allows processors to directly access persistent data in main memory. Yet, persistent memory systems need to guarantee a consistent memory state in the event of power loss or a system crash (i.e., crash consistency). To guarantee crash consistency, most prior works rely on programmers to (1) partition persistent and transient memory data and (2) use specialized software interfaces when updating persistent memory data. As a result, taking advantage of persistent memory requires significant programmer effort, e.g., to implement new programs as well as modify legacy programs. Use cases and adoption of persistent memory can therefore be largely limited. In this paper, we propose a hardware-assisted DRAM+NVM hybrid persistent memory design, Transparent Hybrid NVM (ThyNVM), which supports software-transparent crash consistency of memory data in a hybrid memory system. To efficiently enforce crash consistency, we design a new dual-scheme checkpointing mechanism, which efficiently overlaps checkpointing time with application execution time. The key novelty is to enable checkpointing of data at multiple granularities, cache block or page granularity, in a coordinated manner. This design is based on our insight that there is a tradeoff between the application stall time due to checkpointing and the hardware storage overhead of the metadata for checkpointing, both of which are dictated by the granularity of checkpointed data. To get the best of the tradeoff, our technique adapts the checkpointing granularity to the write locality characteristics of the data and coordinates the management of multiple-granularity updates. Our evaluation across a variety of applications shows that ThyNVM performs within 4.9% of an idealized DRAM-only system that can provide crash consistency at no cost.

Publication date:
December 2015

Jinglei Ren
Jishen Zhao
Samira Khan
Jongmoo Choi
Yongwei Wu
Onur Mutlu

Storage Class Memories

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Bibtex entry

  author       = {Jinglei Ren and Jishen Zhao and Samira Khan and Jongmoo Choi and
Yongwei Wu and Onur Mutlu},
  title        = {ThyNVM: Enabling Software-Transparent Crash Consistency in
Persistent Memory Systems},
  booktitle = {Proceedings of the International Symposium on Microarchitecture
  month        = dec,
  year         = {2015},
Last modified 7 Mar 2016