PDL Abstract

STEPS Towards Cache-Resident Transaction Processing

Proceedings of the 30th VLDB Conference, Toronto, Canada, 29 August - 3 September 2004.

Stavros Harizopoulos, Anastassia Ailamaki

School of Computer Science
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213


Online transaction processing (OLTP) is a multibillion dollar industry with high-end database servers employing state-of-the-art processors to maximize performance. Unfortunately, recent studies show that CPUs are far from realizing their maximum intended throughput because of delays in the processor caches. When running OLTP, instruction-related delays in the memory subsystem account for 25 to 40% of the total execution time. In contrast to data, instruction misses cannot be overlapped with out-of-order execution, and instruction caches cannot grow as the slower access time directly affects the processor speed. The challenge is to alleviate the instruction-related delays without increasing the cache size.

We propose Steps, a technique that minimizes instruction cache misses in OLTP workloads by multiplexing concurrent transactions and exploiting common code paths. One transaction paves the cache with instructions, while close followers enjoy a nearly miss-free execution. Steps yields up to 96.7% reduction in instruction cache misses for each additional concurrent transaction, and at the same time eliminates up to 64% of mispredicted branches by loading a repeating execution pattern into the CPU. This paper (a) describes the design and implementation of Steps, (b) analyzes Steps using microbenchmarks, and (c) shows Steps performance when running TPC-C on top of the Shore storage manager.