MQSIM: A framework for enabling realistic studies of modern multi-queue SSD devices

Arash Tavakkol, Juan Gómez-Luna, Mohammad Sadrosadati, Saugata Ghose, Onur Mutlu

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


Solid-state drives (SSDs) are used in a wide array of computer systems today, including in datacenters and enterprise servers. As the I/O demands of these systems continue to increase, manufacturers are evolving SSD architectures to keep up with this demand. For example, manufacturers have introduced new high-bandwidth interfaces to replace the conventional SATA host–interface protocol. These new interfaces, such as the NVMe protocol, are designed specifically to enable the high amounts of concurrent I/O bandwidth that SSDs are capable of delivering. While modern SSDs with sophisticated features such as the NVMe protocol are already on the market, existing SSD simulation tools have fallen behind, as they do not capture these new features. We find that state-of-the-art SSD simulators have three shortcomings that prevent them from accurately modeling the performance of real off-the-shelf SSDs. First, these simulators do not model critical features of new protocols (e.g., NVMe), such as their use of multiple application-level queues for requests and the elimination of OS intervention for I/O request processing. Second, these simulators often do not accurately capture the impact of advanced SSD maintenance algorithms (e.g., garbage collection), as they do not properly or quickly emulate steady-state conditions that can significantly change the behavior of these algorithms in real SSDs. Third, these simulators do not capture the full end-to-end latency of I/O requests, which can incorrectly skew the results reported for SSDs that make use of emerging non-volatile memory technologies. By not accurately modeling these three features, existing simulators report results that deviate significantly from real SSD performance. In this work, we introduce a new simulator, called MQSim, that accurately models the performance of both modern SSDs and conventional SATA-based SSDs. MQSim faithfully models new high-bandwidth protocol implementations, steady-state SSD conditions, and the full end-to-end latency of requests in modern SSDs. We validate MQSim, showing that it reports performance results that are only 6%-18% apart from the measured actual performance of four real state-of-the-art SSDs. We show that by modeling critical features of modern SSDs, MQSim uncovers several real and important issues that were not captured by existing simulators, such as the performance impact of inter-flow interference. We have released MQSim as an open-source tool, and we hope that it can enable researchers to explore directions in new and different areas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 16th USENIX Conference on File and Storage Technologies, FAST 2018
PublisherUSENIX Association
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781931971423
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes
Event16th USENIX Conference on File and Storage Technologies, FAST 2018 - Oakland, United States
Duration: Feb 12 2018Feb 15 2018

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 16th USENIX Conference on File and Storage Technologies, FAST 2018


Conference16th USENIX Conference on File and Storage Technologies, FAST 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Software


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