Using Hugetlbfs for Mapping Application Text Regions

Many enterprise applications such as Database and File- and Application-Servers have large text and data footprints. For efficient execution, these applications need the processor to efficiently cache address translations for many text and data pages. Translation Lookaside Buffers (TLBs) are a very critical resource on any processor and all effort should be made to use them as optimally as possible. Linux kernel uses huge TLBs (x86, IA-64, etc.) for mapping its own text and data. HUGETLBFS support in Linux allows the use of huge TLBs (for example 2M/4M on x86, 256MB on IA-64) for mapping an application's dynamic data. In this paper we will describe an approach that leverages HUGETLBFS support in kernel for mapping a program's text region. We will detail the modifications applied to different components (Linux kernel, glibc and binutils) for this solution, and discuss the performance improvements it delivers on an industry standard transaction processing workload.

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