The Conquest File System: Better Performance through a Disk/persistent-RAM Hybrid Design

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Computer Science (HMC)

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Modern file systems assume the use of disk, a system-wide performance bottleneck for over a decade. Current disk caching and RAM file systems either impose high overhead to access memory content or fail to provide mechanisms to achieve data persistence across reboots.The Conquest file system is based on the observation that memory is becoming inexpensive, which enables all file system services to be delivered from memory, except for providing large storage capacity. Unlike caching, Conquest uses memory with battery backup as persistent storage, and provides specialized and separate data paths to memory and disk. Therefore, the memory data path contains no disk-related complexity. The disk data path consists of optimizations only for the specialized disk usage pattern.Compared to a memory-based file system, Conquest incurs little performance overhead. Compared to several disk-based file systems, Conquest achieves 1.3x to 19x faster memory performance, and 1.4x to 2.0x faster performance when exercising both memory and disk. Conquest realizes most of the benefits of persistent RAM at a fraction of the cost of a RAM-only solution. It also demonstrates that disk-related optimizations impose high overheads for accessing memory content in a memory-rich environment.

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© 2006 ACM, Inc.