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FAST '03 Abstract

ARC: A Self-Tuning, Low Overhead Replacement Cache

Nimrod Megiddo and Dharmendra S. Modha, IBM Almaden Research Center


We consider the problem of cache management in a demand paging scenario with uniform page sizes. We propose a new cache management policy, namely, Adaptive Replacement Cache (ARC), that has several advantages.

In response to evolving and changing access patterns, ARC dynamically, adaptively, and continually balances between the recency and frequency components in an online and self-tuning fashion. The policy ARC uses a learning rule to adaptively and continually revise its assumptions about the workload.

The policy ARC is empirically universal, that is, it empirically performs as well as a certain fixed replacement policy—even when the latter uses the best workload-specific tuning parameter that was selected in an offline fashion. Consequently, ARC works uniformly well across varied workloads and cache sizes without any need for workload specific a priori knowledge or tuning. Various policies such as LRU-2, 2Q, LRFU, and LIRS require user-defined parameters, and, unfortunately, no single choice works uniformly well across different workloads and cache sizes.

The policy ARC is simple-to-implement and, like LRU, has constant complexity per request. In comparison, policies LRU-2 and LRFU both require logarithmic time complexity in the cache size.

The policy ARC is scan-resistant: it allows one-time se-quential requests to pass through without polluting the cache.

On 23 real-life traces drawn from numerous domains, ARC leads to substantial performance gains over LRU for a wide range of cache sizes. For example, for a SPC1 like synthetic benchmark, at 4GB cache, LRU delivers a hit ratio of 9.19% while ARC achieves a hit ratio of 20%.

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Last changed: 7 Nov. 2003 jel
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