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Challenges and Opportunities for System Software in the Multi-Core Era. or The Sky is Falling, The Sky is Falling!. Challenge: scaling. Scaling software Virtual Machine Monitors (easy) Operating Systems (hard) Applications (hardest) Scaling hardware Memory bandwidth I/O bandwidth

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Challenges and Opportunities for System Software in the Multi-Core Era

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Challenges and opportunities for system software in the multi core era l.jpg

Challenges and Opportunities for System Software in the Multi-Core Era

or

The Sky is Falling, The Sky is Falling!


Challenge scaling l.jpg

Challenge: scaling

  • Scaling software

    • Virtual Machine Monitors (easy)

    • Operating Systems (hard)

    • Applications (hardest)

  • Scaling hardware

    • Memory bandwidth

    • I/O bandwidth

  • Prediction: mainstream will remain < 100 cores for next 5 years. Lack of applications, Amdahl’s law and power efficiency constraints.


Challenge scheduling l.jpg

Challenge: scheduling

  • Too expensive to context switch

    • gang scheduling many cores inefficient

    • disruptive to application

  • Complex resource hierarchy

    • cache, memory, I/O

  • Opportunity: VMM and OS schedulers will have to understand and schedule complex hierarchies

  • Prediction: partitioning cores rather than time sharing will be the norm


Challenge isolation l.jpg

Challenge: isolation

  • Fault isolation and recovery

    • Large transistor count => cores will fail

  • Performance isolation

    • Shared resources, e.g., caches, I/O bandwidth

  • Opportunity:

    • Build fault containment mechanisms into the system architecture

    • Provide resource reservation controls

    • System software must handle and recover from faults, enforce performance isolation

    • Virtualization makes physical machines stateless and interchangeable


Challenge distance l.jpg

Challenge: distance

  • Off-chip resources get farther and farther

    • Latency-bound applications suffer

    • I/O becomes even more heavy-weight

  • Opportunity

    • Bring communication closer to the cores

    • Rethink I/O architectures

  • Prediction

    • We will see on-chip I/O controllers and buses


Opportunity assists l.jpg

Opportunity: assists

  • Extra cores can be used for

    • I/O processing

    • self monitoring

  • Specialized cores

    • computation (conventional and stream)

    • communication (TCP processing)

    • graphics processing (GPU elements)

  • System software to take advantage of these resources


Opportunity virtualization l.jpg

Opportunity: virtualization

  • Killer app for multi-core

    • Easier to scale job-level parallelism

  • Power efficiency

    • Scale each application to maximize performance per watt

  • Hide complex hardware topology


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