BATMAN: Maximizing Bandwidth Utilization of Hybrid Memory Systems

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Tiered-memory systems consist of high-bandwidth 3D-DRAM and high-capacity commodity-DRAM. Conventional designs attempt to improve system performance by maximizing the number of memory accesses serviced by 3D-DRAM. However, when the commodity-DRAM bandwidth is a significant fraction of overall system bandwidth, the techniques inefficiently utilize the total bandwidth offered by the tiered-memory system and yields sub-optimal performance. In such situations, the performance can be improved by distributing memory accesses that are proportional to the bandwidth of each memory. Ideally, we want a simple and effective runtime mechanism that achieves the desired access distribution without requiring significant hardware or software support.

This paper proposes Bandwidth-Aware Tiered-Memory Management (BATMAN), a runtime mechanism that manages the distribution of memory accesses in a tiered-memory system by explicitly controlling data movement. BATMAN monitors the number of accesses to both memories, and when the number of 3D-DRAM accesses exceeds the desired threshold, BATMAN disallows data movement from the commodity-DRAM to 3D-DRAM and proactively moves data from 3D-DRAM to commodity-DRAM. We demonstrate BATMAN on systems that architect the 3D-DRAM as either a hardware-managed cache (cache mode) or a part of the OS-visible memory space (flat mode). Our evaluations on a system with 4GB 3D-DRAM and 32GB commodity-DRAM show that BATMAN improves performance by an average of 11% and 10% and energy-delay product by 13% and 11% for systems in the cache and flat modes, respectively. BATMAN incurs only an eight-byte hardware overhead and requires negligible software modification.


Chiachen Chou (Georgia Institute of Technology)
Moinuddin Qureshi (Georgia Institute of Technology)

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