Abstract - Technical Program - OSDI 99
A Comparison of Windows Driver Model Latency Performance on Windows NT and Windows 98
Erik Cota-Robles, James P. Held
Intel Architecture Labs
Windows 98 and NT share a common driver model known as WDM (Windows
Driver Model) and carefully designed drivers can be binary portable.
We compare the performance of Windows 98 and Windows NT 4.0 under load
from office, multimedia and engineering applications on a personal
computer (PC) of modest power that is free of legacy hardware. We
report our observations using a complementary pair of system
performance measures, interrupt and thread latency, that
capture the ability of the OS to support multimedia and real-time
workloads in a way that traditional throughput-based performance
measures miss. We use the measured latency distributions to evaluate
the quality of service that a WDM driver can expect to receive on both
OSs, irrespective of whether the driver uses thread-based or
interrupt-based processing. We conclude that for real-time
applications a driver on Windows NT 4.0 that uses high, real-time
priority threads receives an order of magnitude better service than a
similar WDM driver on Windows 98 that uses Deferred Procedure Calls, a
form of interrupt processing. With the increase in multimedia and
other real-time processing on PCs the interrupt and thread latency
metrics have become as important as the throughput metrics
traditionally used to measure performance.
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