Storage

Operating System Implications of Fast, Cheap, Non-Volatile Memory

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Executive Summary

The existence of two basic levels of storage (fast/volatile and slow/non-volatile) has been a long-standing premise of most computer systems, influencing the design of OS components, including file systems, virtual memory, scheduling, execution models, and even their APIs. Emerging resistive memory technologies - such as Phase-Change Memory (PCM) and memristors - have the potential to provide large, fast, non-volatile memory systems, changing the assumptions that motivated the design of current operating systems. This paper examines the implications of non-volatile memories on a number of OS mechanisms, functions, and properties.

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