High Performance Transaction Processing on Non-Uniform Hardware Topologies

Transaction processing is a mission critical enterprise application that runs on high-end servers. Traditionally, transaction processing systems have been designed for uniform core-to-core communication latencies. In the past decade, with the emergence of multisocket multicores, for the first time we have Islands, i.e., groups of cores that communicate fast among themselves and slower with other groups. In current mainstream servers, each multicore processor corresponds to an Island. As the number of cores on a chip increases, however, we expect that multiple Islands will form within a single processor in the nearby future. In addition, the access latencies to the local memory and to the memory of another server over fast interconnect are converging, thus creating a hierarchy of Islands within a group of servers. Non-uniform hardware topologies pose a significant challenge to the scalability and the predictability of performance of transaction processing systems. Distributed transaction processing systems can alleviate this problem; however, no single deployment configuration is optimal for all workloads and hardware topologies. In order to fully utilize the available processing power, a transaction processing system needs to adapt to the underlying hardware topology and tune its configuration to the current workload. More specifically, the system should be able to detect any changes to the workload and hardware topology, and adapt accordingly without disrupting the processing. In this thesis, we first systematically quantify the impact of hardware Islands on deployment configurations of distributed transaction processing systems. We show that none of these configurations is optimal for all workloads, and the choice of the optimal configuration depends on the combination of the workload and hardware topology. In the cluster setting, on the other hand, the choice of optimal configuration additionally depends on the properties of the communication channel between the servers. We address this challenge by designing a dynamic shared-everything system that adapts its data structures automatically to hardware Islands. To ensure good performance in the presence of shifting workload patterns, we use a lightweight partitioning and placement mechanism to balance the load and minimize the synchronization overheads across Islands. Overall, we show that masking the non-uniformity of inter-core communication is critical for achieving predictably high performance for latency-sensitive applications, such as transaction processing. With clusters of a handful of multicore chips with large main memories replacing high-end many-socket servers, the deployment rules of thumb identified in our analysis have a potential to significantly reduce the synchronization and communication costs of transaction processing. As workloads become more dynamic and diverse, while still running on partitioned infrastructure, the lightweight monitoring and adaptive repartitioning mechanisms proposed in this thesis will be applicable to a wide range of designs for which traditional offline schemes are impractical.

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