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Open Access Publications from the University of California

A new DMA registration strategy for pinning-based high performance networks

  • Author(s): Bell, C
  • Bonachea, D
  • et al.

© 2003 IEEE. This paper proposes anew memory registration strategy for supporting Remote DMA (RDMA) operations over pinning-based networks, as existing approaches are insufficient for efficiently implementing Global Address Space (GAS) languages. Although existing approaches often maximize bandwidth, they require levels of synchronization that discourage one-sided communication, and can have significant latency costs for small messages. The proposed Firehose algorithm attempts to expose one-sided, zero-copy communication as a common case, while minimizing the number of host-level synchronizations required to support remote memory operations. The basic idea is to reap the performance benefits of a pin-everything approach in the common case (without the drawbacks) and revert to a rendezvous-based approach to handle the uncommon case. In all cases, the algorithm attempts to amortize the cost of synchronization and pinning over multiple remote memory operations, improving performance over rendezvous by avoiding many handshaking messages and the cost of re-pinning recently used pages. Performance results are presented which demonstrate that the cost of two-sided handshaking and memory registration is negligible when the set of remotely referenced memory pages on a given node is smaller than the physical memory (where the entire working set can remain pinned), and for applications with larger working sets the performance degrades gracefully and consistently outperforms conventional approaches.

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