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2019, 2019 19th IEEE/ACM International Symposium on Cluster, Cloud and Grid Computing (CCGRID), Pages 11-20

NBBS: A Non-blocking Buddy System for Multi-core Machines (04b Atto di convegno in volume)

Marotta Romolo, Ianni Mauro, Scarselli Andrea, Pellegrini Alessandro, Quaglia Francesco

Common implementations of core memory allocation components, like the Linux buddy system, handle concurrent allocation/release requests by synchronizing threads via spinlocks. This approach is not prone to scale with large thread counts, a problem that has been addressed in the literature by introducing layered allocation services or replicating the core allocators—the bottom most ones within the layered architecture. Both these solutions tend to reduce the pressure of actual concurrent accesses to each individual core allocator. In this article we explore an alternative approach to scalability of memory allocation/release, which can be still combined with those literature proposals. We present a fully non-blocking buddy-system, where threads performing concurrent allocations/releases do not undergo any spinlock based synchronization. Our solution allows threads to proceed in parallel, and commit their allocations/releases unless a conflict is materialized while handling its metadata. Conflict detection relies on conventional atomic machine instructions in the Read-Modify-Write (RMW) class. Beyond improving scalability and performance, our solution can also avoid wasting clock cycles for spin-lock operations by threads that could in principle carry out their memory allocation/release in full concurrency. Thus, it is resilient to performance degradation—in face of concurrent accesses—independently of the current level of fragmentation of the handled memory blocks.
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