Characterizing the caching and synchronization performance of a multiprocessor operating system

Josep Torrellas, Anoop Gupta, John Hennessy

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

Abstract

Good cache memory performance is essential to achieving high CPU utilization in shared-memory multiprocessors. While the performance of caches is determined by both application and operating system (OS) references, most research has focused on the cache performance of applications alone. This is partially due to the difficulty of measuring OS activity and, as a result, the cache performance of the OS is largely unknown. In this paper, we characterize the cache performance of a commercial System V UNIX running on a four-CPU multiprocessor. The related issue of the performance impact of the OS synchronization activity is also studied. For our study, we use a hardware monitor that records the cache misses in the machine without perturbing it. We study three multi-processor workloads: a parallel compile, a multiprogrammed load, and a commercial database. Our results show that OS misses occur frequently enough to stall CPUs for 17-21% of their non-idle time. Further, if we include application misses induced by OS interference in the cache, then the stall time reaches 25%. A detailed analysis reveals three major sources of OS misses: instruction fetches, process migration, and data accesses in block operations. As for synchronization behavior, we find that OS synchronization has low overhead if supported correctly and that OS locks show good locality and low contention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInternational Conference on Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems - ASPLOS
PublisherPubl by ACM
Pages162-186
Number of pages25
Edition9
ISBN (Print)0897915356
StatePublished - Sep 1 1992
Externally publishedYes
EventProceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Architectural Support Programming Languages and Operating Systems - ASPLOS-V - Boston, MA, USA
Duration: Oct 12 1992Oct 15 1992

Publication series

NameInternational Conference on Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems - ASPLOS
Number9
Volume27

Other

OtherProceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Architectural Support Programming Languages and Operating Systems - ASPLOS-V
CityBoston, MA, USA
Period10/12/9210/15/92

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Hardware and Architecture

Cite this

Torrellas, J., Gupta, A., & Hennessy, J. (1992). Characterizing the caching and synchronization performance of a multiprocessor operating system. In International Conference on Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems - ASPLOS (9 ed., pp. 162-186). (International Conference on Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems - ASPLOS; Vol. 27, No. 9). Publ by ACM.