When Storage Response Time Catches up with Overall Context Switch Overhead, What Is Next?

Chun Feng Wu, Yuan Hao Chang, Ming Chang Yang, Tei Wei Kuo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The virtual memory technique provides a large and cheap memory space by extending the memory space with storage devices. It applies context switch to asynchronously swapping pages between memory and storage devices for hiding the long response time of storage devices when a page fault occurs. However, the overall context switch overhead is high because the context switch itself is a complex function and would further incur TLB shootdown/flush and compulsory CPU cache misses after context switches. On the contrary, as the rapid responsiveness improvement of high-end storage devices, we observe that the response time of high-end storage devices catches up and gradually becomes smaller than the overall context switch overhead. At this turning point, to further enhance the system responsiveness, we advocate adopting synchronous swapping rather than context switch in response to page faults. Meanwhile, we propose a strategy, called shadow huge page management, to further improve the overall system performance by minimizing the overall time overheads caused by page faults and page swappings. Evaluation results show that the proposed system can efficiently reduce the total CPU wasting time.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9211516
Pages (from-to)4266-4277
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Computer-Aided Design of Integrated Circuits and Systems
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2020


  • Context switch
  • CPU busy waiting
  • data prefetching
  • huge page
  • killer microsecond
  • page swapping
  • synchronous I/O completion designs
  • ultralow latency (ULL) devices
  • virtual memory management


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