Authors: Luke Logan and Jaime Garcia (Illinois Institute of Technology), Jay Lofstead (Sandia National Laboratories), and Xian-He Sun and Anthony Kougkas (Illinois Institute of Technology)
Abstract: Traditionally, I/O systems have been developed within the confines of a centralized OS kernel. This led to monolithic and rigid storage systems that are limited by low development speed, low expressiveness, and suboptimal performance. Various assumptions are forced onto users including reliance on the UNIX-file abstraction, the POSIX standard, and a narrow set of I/O policies. Recent hardware innovation and the explosion of I/O requirements of modern applications have questioned how storage services are developed. To support high-performance while maintaining flexibility, I/O subsystems are shifting to userspace designs. To that end, this paper introduces LabStor, a modular and extensible platform for developing high-performance, customized I/O stacks in userspace. By enabling direct access to device drivers from userspace, any number of composable I/O stack designs are now possible with high-velocity development. Evaluations show that I/O stacks developed in LabStor can yield performance improvements of up to 60% in various applications.
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