Date of Original Version



Technical Report

Rights Management

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Abstract or Description

For decades the RAM-to-disk memory hierarchy gap has plagued computer architects. An exciting new storage technology based on microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) is poised to fill a large portion of this performance gap, significantly reduce system power consumption, and enable many new applications. This paper explores the system-level implications of integrating MEMS-based storage into the memory hierarchy. Results show that standalone MEMS-based storage reduces I/O stall times by 4-74X over disks and improves overall application runtimes by 1.9-4.4X. When used as on-board caches for disks, MEMS-based storage improves I/O response time by up to 3.5X. Further, the energy consumption of MEMS-based storage is 10-54X less than that of state-of-the-art low-power disk drives. The combination of the high-level physical characteristics of MEMS-based storage (small footprints, high shock tolerance) and the ability to directly integrate MEMS-based storage with processing leads to such new applications as portable gigabit storage systems and ubiquitous active storage nodes.


Superceded by Proceedings 9th International Conference on Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems (ASPLOS-IX), Cambridge, MA, November 13-15, 2000.