Check out the new USENIX Web site.

USENIX Home . About USENIX . Events . membership . Publications . Students
4th USENIX Conference on File and Storage Technologies—Abstract

Pp. 115–128 of the Proceedings

Second-Tier Cache Management Using Write Hints

Xuhui Li, Ashraf Aboulnaga, and Kenneth Salem, University of Waterloo; Aamer Sachedina, IBM Toronto Lab; Shaobo Gao, University of Waterloo


Storage servers, as well as storage clients, typically have large memories in which they cache data blocks. This creates a two-tier cache hierarchy in which the presence of a first-tier cache (at the storage client) makes it more difficult to manage the second-tier cache (at the storage server). Many techniques have been proposed for improving the management of second-tier caches, but none of these techniques use the information that is provided by writes of data blocks from the first tier to help manage the second-tier cache. In this paper, we illustrate how the information contained in writes from the first tier can be used to improve the performance of the second-tier cache. In particular, we argue that there are very different reasons why storage clients write data blocks to storage servers (e.g., cleaning dirty blocks vs. limiting the time to recover from failure). These different types of writes can provide strong indications about the current state and future access patterns of a first-tier cache, which can help in managing the second-tier cache. We propose that storage clients inform the storage servers about the types of writes that they perform by passing write hints. These write hints can then be used by the server to manage the second-tier cache. We focus on the common and important case in which the storage client is a database system running a transactional (OLTP) workload. We describe, for this case, the different types of write hints that can be passed to the storage server, and we present several cache management policies that rely on these write hints. We demonstrate using trace driven simulations that these simple and inexpensive write hints can significantly improve the performance of the second-tier cache.
  • View the full text of this paper in HTML and PDF.
    Click here if you have forgotten your password Until December 2006, you will need your USENIX membership identification in order to access the full papers. The Proceedings are published as a collective work, © 2005 by the USENIX Association. All Rights Reserved. Rights to individual papers remain with the author or the author's employer. Permission is granted for the noncommercial reproduction of the complete work for educational or research purposes. USENIX acknowledges all trademarks within this paper.

  • If you need the latest Adobe Acrobat Reader, you can download it from Adobe's site.
To become a USENIX Member, please see our Membership Information.

?Need help? Use our Contacts page.

Last changed: 8 Dec. 2005 rc
Technical Program
FAST '05 Home