Performance of Database Workloads on Shared-Memory Systems with Out-of-Order Processors

Parthasarathy Ranganathan, Kourosh Gharachorloo, Sarita V. Adve, Luiz André Barroso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Database applications such as online transaction processing (OLTP) and decision support systems (DSS) constitute the largest and fastest-growing segment of the market for multiprocessor servers. However, most current system designs have been optimized to perform well on scientific and engineering workloads. Given the radically different behavior of database workloads (especially OLTP), it is important to re-evaluate key system design decisions in the context of this important class of applications. This paper examines the behavior of database workloads on shared-memory multiprocessors with aggressive out-of-order processors, and considers simple optimizations that can provide further performance improvements. Our study is based on detailed simulations of the Oracle commercial database engine. The results show that the combination of out-of-order execution and multiple instruction issue is indeed effective in improving performance of database workloads, providing gains of 1.5 and 2.6 times over an in-order single-issue processor for OLTP and DSS, respectively. In addition, speculative techniques enable optimized implementations of memory consistency models that significantly improve the performance of stricter consistency models, bringing the performance to within 10-15% of the performance of more relaxed models. The second part of our study focuses on the more challenging OLTP workload. We show that an instruction stream buffer is effective in reducing the remaining instruction stalls in OLTP, providing a 17% reduction in execution time (approaching a perfect instruction cache to within 15%). Furthermore, our characterization shows that a large fraction of the data communication misses in OLTP exhibit migratory behavior; our preliminary results show that software prefetch and writeback/flush hints can be used for this data to further reduce execution time by 12%.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)307-318
Number of pages12
JournalOperating Systems Review (ACM)
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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