ACM Transactions on Storage

FlashNet: Flash/network stack co-design

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During the past decade, network and storage devices have undergone rapid performance improvements, delivering ultra-lowlatency and several Gbps of bandwidth. Nevertheless, current network and storage stacks fail to deliver this hardware performance to the applications, often due to the loss of I/O efficiency from stalled CPU performance. While many efforts attempt to address this issue solely on either the network or the storage stack, achieving high-performance for networked-storage applications requires a holistic approach that considers both. In this article, we present FlashNet, a software I/O stack that unifies high-performance network properties with flash storage access andmanagement. FlashNet builds on RDMA principles and abstractions to provide a direct, asynchronous, end-to-end data path between a client and remote flash storage. The key insight behind FlashNet is to co-design the stack's components (an RDMA controller, a flash controller, and a file system) to enable cross-stack optimizations and maximize I/O efficiency. In micro-benchmarks, FlashNet improves 4kB network I/O operations per second (IOPS by 38.6% to 1.22M, decreases access latency by 43.5% to 50.4μs, and prolongs the flash lifetime by 1.6-5.9× for writes. We illustrate the capabilities of FlashNet by building a Key-Value store and porting a distributed data store that uses RDMA on it. The use of FlashNet's RDMA API improves the performance of KV store by 2× and requires minimum changes for the ported data store to access remote flash devices. 2018 Copyright is held by the owner/author(s).