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Performance Evaluation of Intel Optane Memory for Managed Workloads

Shoaib Akram

Abstract: Intel Optane memory offers non-volatility, byte addressability, and high capacity. It suits managed workloads that prefer large main memory heaps. We investigate Optane as the main memory for managed (Java) workloads, focusing on performance scalability. As the workload (core count) increases, we note Optane’s performance relative to DRAM. A few workloads incur a slight slowdown on Optane memory, which helps conserve limited DRAM capacity. Unfortunately, other workloads scale poorly beyond a few core counts. This article investigates scaling bottlenecks for Java workloads on Optane memory, analyzing the application, runtime, and microarchitectural interactions. Poorly scaling workloads allocate objects rapidly and access objects in Optane memory frequently. These characteristics slow down the mutator and substantially slow down garbage collection (GC). At the microarchitecture level, load, store, and instruction miss penalties rise. To regain performance, we partition heaps across DRAM and Optane memory, a hybrid that scales considerably better than Optane alone. We exploit state-of-the-art GC approaches to partition heaps. Unfortunately, existing GC approaches needlessly waste DRAM capacity because they ignore runtime behavior. This article also introduces performance impact-guided memory allocation (PIMA) for hybrid memories. PIMA maximizes Optane utilization, allocating in DRAM only if it improves performance. It estimates the performance impact of allocating heaps in either memory type by sampling. We target PIMA at graph analytics workloads, offering a novel performance estimation method and detailed evaluation. PIMA identifies workload phases that benefit from DRAM with high (94.33%) accuracy, incurring only a 2% sampling overhead. PIMA operates stand-alone or combines with prior approaches to offer new performance versus DRAM capacity trade-offs. This work opens up Optane memory to a real-life role as the main memory for Java workloads.
Keywords: Java / estimation / Intel Optane memory / scalability / analytics / performance

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