Broadcast Disks: Data Management for Asymmetric Communication Environments

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1998-10-15

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This paper proposes the use of repetitive broadcast as a way of augmenting the memory hierarchy of clients in an asymmetric communication environment. We describe a new technique called "Broadcast Disks" for structuring the broadcast in a way that provides improved performance for non-uniformly accessed data. The Broadcast Disk superimposes multiple disks spinning at different speeds on a single broadcast channel in effect creating an arbitrarily fine-grained memory hierarchy. In addition to proposing and defining the mechanism, a main result of this work is that exploiting the potential of the broadcast structure requires a reevaluation of basic cache management policies. We examine several "pure" cache management policies and develop and measure implementable approximations to these policies. These results and others are presented in a set of simulation studies that substantiates the basic idea and develops some of the intuitions required to design a particular broadcast program. (Also cross-referenced as UMIACS-TR-94-120)

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