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Mapped Files

Flash retains a cache of memory-mapped files to reduce the number of map/unmap operations necessary for request processing. Memory-mapped files provide a convenient mechanism to avoid extra data copying and double-buffering, but they require extra system calls to create and remove the mappings. Mappings for frequently-requested files can be kept and reused, but unused mappings can increase kernel bookkeeping and degrade performance.

The mapping cache operates on ``chunks'' of files and lazily unmaps them when too much data has been mapped. Small files occupy one chunk each, while large files are split into multiple chunks. Inactive chunks are maintained in an LRU free list, and are unmapped when this list grows too large. We use LRU to approximate the ``clock'' page replacement algorithm used in many operating systems, with the goal of mapping only what is likely to be in memory. All mapped file pages are tested for memory residency via mincore() before use.

Peter Druschel