Non-Blocking Writes to File Data – IP 1424

The ability to cache and buffer file data within an operatingsystem (OS) page cache is a key performance optimization that has been thestandard for more than four decades. An OS can seamlessly fetch pages intomemory from backing storage when necessary as they are read or written to by aprocess. The same key design is also implemented in networked file systemswhereby a client issues page fetches over the network to a remote filer server.Unfortunately a drawback of this design is that processes are blocked by the OSduring the page fetch step. Recent findings have shown that the page fetch stepis avoidable in cases where a write to a page is not available in the pagecache. This advancement allows the OS to buffer the data temporarily writtenelsewhere in memory and unblocks the process immediately. FIU inventors have been able to separate the page fetch policyfrom the page fetch mechanism and develop non-blocking reads to pages that arenot in the file system cache if the data being referenced has been recentlywritten. This design and its executions address the correctness concerns fornon-blocking writes with respect to the durability, ordering, and consistencysemantics for file system operations. Performance evaluations revealed: Throughput performance improvements of up to 45.5x across workload types when non-blocking writes were used Non-blocking writes reduced write operation latencies by as much as 65 to 79% The overhead introduced by non-blocking writes is negligible with little or no loss of performance when workloads cannot benefit from non-blocking writes In addition this design provides a starting point for similar implementations in multiple OSs, while also opening up avenues for future developments and enhancements Shantanu Balkundi 305-348-8061

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