Linux Optimizations for Low Latency Block Devices

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Publish Date: 
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
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New Non-Volatile Memory (NVM) material’s like the Intel/Micron 3D XPoint allow vendors to build a new class of NVMe SSD with a vy different performance profile to those based on NAND memor However without support in the Operating Systems (OSes) to which these drives are attached, much of this novel performance will be lost. In this paper we look at some of the accepted and proposed changes to one of the most popular OSes (the Linux kernel) that address this issue. We discuss the pros and cons of putting new NVM behind an NVMe interface and show how certain changes in the OS can make these devices shine.

As well as discussing accepted improvements such as IO completion polling we will also look at more controversial enhancements. This includes attempts to expose parts of the block layer stack to user-space.

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