IBM J. Res. Dev

Memory expansion Technology (MXT): software support and performance

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A novel memory subsystem called Memory Expansion Technology (MXT) has been built for fast hardware compression of main-memory content. This allows a memory expansion to present a "real" memory larger than the physically available memory. This paper provides an overview of the memory-compression architecture, its OS support under Linux and Windows®, and an analysis of the performance impact of memory compression. Results show that the hardware compression of main memory has a negligible penalty compared to an uncompressed main memory, and for memory-starved applications it increases performance significantly. We also show that the memory content of an application can usually be compressed by a factor of 2.