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2015 IEEE 35th International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems (ICDCS) (2015)
Columbus, OH, USA
June 29, 2015 to July 2, 2015
ISSN: 1063-6927
ISBN: 978-1-4673-7214-5
pp: 278-287
Chip manufacturers continue to increase the number of cores per chip while balancing requirements for low power consumption. This drives a need for simpler cores and hardware caches. Because of these trends, the scalability of existing shared memory system software is in question. Traditional operating systems (OS) for multiprocessors are based on shared memory communication between cores and are symmetric (SMP). Contention in SMP OSes over shared data structures is increasingly significant in newer generations of many-core processors. We propose the use of the replicated-kernel OS design to improve scalability over the traditional SMP OS. Our replicated-kernel design is an extension of the concept of the multikernel. While a multikernel appears to application software as a distributed network of cooperating micro kernels, we provide the appearance of a monolithic, single-system image, task-based OS in which application software is unaware of the distributed nature of the underlying OS. In this paper we tackle the problem of thread migration between kernels in a replicated-kernel OS. We focus on distributed thread group creation, context migration, and address space consistency for threads that execute on different kernels, but belong to the same distributed thread group. This concept is embodied in our prototype OS, called Popcorn Linux, which runs on multicore x86 machines and presents a Linux-like interface to application software that is indistinguishable from the SMP Linux interface. By doing this, we are able to leverage the wealth of existing Linux software for use on our platform while demonstrating the characteristics of the underlying replicated-kernel OS. We show that a replicated-kernel OS scales as well as a multikernel OS by removing the contention on shared data structures. Popcorn, Barr elfish, and SMP Linux are compared on selected benchmarks. Popcorn is shown to be competitive to SMP Linux, and up to 40% faster.
Kernel, Linux, Message systems, Instruction sets, Data structures, Hardware

D. Katz, A. Barbalace, S. Ansary, A. Ravichandran and B. Ravindran, "Thread Migration in a Replicated-Kernel OS," 2015 IEEE 35th International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems (ICDCS), Columbus, OH, USA, 2015, pp. 278-287.
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