Track: Modern Operating Systems

Day of week: Monday

Applied, practical, & real-world deep-dive into industry adoption of OS, containers and virtualisation, including Linux on Windows, LinuxKit, and Unikernels

Track Host: Justin Cormack

Developer @Docker

Justin Cormack is developer at Docker, working on unikernels.

Caching Beyond RAM: The Case for NVMe

Caching architectures at every layer of the stack embody an implicit tradeoff between performance and cost. These tradeoffs however are constantly shifting: new inflection points can emerge alongside advances in storage technology, changes in workload patterns, or fluctuations in hardware supply and demand. 

In this talk, we will explore the design ramifications of the increasing cost of RAM on caching systems. While RAM has always been expensive, DRAM prices have risen by over 50% in 2017, and high densities of RAM involve multi-socket NUMA machines, bloating power and overall costs. Concurrently, alternative storage technologies such as Flash and Optane continue to improve. They have specialized hardware interfaces, consistent performance, high density, and relatively low costs. While there is increasing economic incentive to explore offloading caching from RAM onto NVMe or NVM devices, the implications for performance are still not widely understood.

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