INSIDER: Designing In-Storage Computing System for Emerging High-Performance Drive


Zhenyuan Ruan, Tong He, and Jason Cong, UCLA


We present INSIDER, a full-stack redesigned storage system to help users fully utilize the performance of emerging storage drives with moderate programming efforts. On the hardware side, INSIDER introduces an FPGA-based reconfigurable drive controller as the in-storage computing (ISC) unit; it is able to saturate the high drive performance while retaining enough programmability. On the software side, INSIDER integrates with the existing system stack and provides effective abstractions. For the host programmer, we introduce virtual file abstraction to abstract ISC as file operations; this hides the existence of the drive processing unit and minimizes the host code modification to leverage the drive computing capability. By separating out the drive processing unit to the data plane, we expose a clear drive-side interface so that drive programmers can focus on describing the computation logic; the details of data movement between different system components are hidden. With the software/hardware co-design, INSIDER runtime provides crucial system support. It not only transparently enforces the isolation and scheduling among offloaded programs, but it also protects the drive data from being accessed by unwarranted programs.

We build an INSIDER drive prototype and implement its corresponding software stack. The evaluation shows that INSIDER achieves an average 12X performance improvement and 31X accelerator cost efficiency when compared to the existing ARM-based ISC system. Additionally, it requires much less effort when implementing applications. INSIDER is open-sourced, and we have adapted it to the AWS F1 instance for public access.

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@inproceedings {234968,
author = {Zhenyuan Ruan and Tong He and Jason Cong},
title = {{INSIDER}: Designing {In-Storage} Computing System for Emerging {High-Performance} Drive},
booktitle = {2019 USENIX Annual Technical Conference (USENIX ATC 19)},
year = {2019},
isbn = {978-1-939133-03-8},
address = {Renton, WA},
pages = {379--394},
url = {},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = jul

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