doi: 10.7873/DATE.2015.0760

nCode: Limiting Harmful Writes to Emerging Mobile NVRAM through Code Swapping

Kan Zhonga, Duo Liub, Linbo Long, Xiao Zhu, Weichen Liu, Qingfeng Zhuge and Edwin H.-M. Sha

Key Lab. of Dependable Service Computing in Cyber Physical Society (Chongqing Univ.), Ministry of Education, China, College of Computer Science, Chongqing University, Chongqing, China.


Mobile applications are becoming more and more powerful but also dependent on large main memories, which consume a large portion of system energy. Swapping to byte-addressable, non-volatile memory (NVRAM) is a promising solution to this problem. However, most NVRAMs have limited write endurance. To make it practical, the design of an NVRAM based swapping system must also consider endurance. In this paper, we target at prolonging the lifetime of NVRAM based swap area in mobile devices. Different from traditional wisdom, such as wear leveling and hot/cold data identification, we propose to build a system called nCode, which exploits the fact that code pages are easy to identify, read-only, and therefore a perfect candidate for swapping. Utilizing NVRAM's byte-addressability, we support execute-in-place (XIP) of the code pages in the swap area, without copying them back to DRAM based main memory. Experimental results based on the Google Nexus 5 smartphone show that nCode can effectively prolong the lifetime of NVRAM under various workloads.

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