Virtualization

To Hardware Prefetch or Not to Prefetch?

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Executive Summary

Most hardware and software venders suggest disabling hardware prefetching in virtualized environments. They claim that prefetching is detrimental to application performance due to inaccurate prediction caused by workload diversity and VM interference on shared cache. However, no comprehensive or quantitative measurements to support this belief have been performed. This paper is the first to systematically measure the influence of hardware prefetching in virtualized environments. The authors examine a wide variety of benchmarks on three types of Chip-MultiProcessors (CMPs) to analyze the hardware prefetching performance. They conduct extensive experiments by taking into account a number of important virtualization factors.

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