Lightweight Recoverable Virtual Memory

M. Satyanarayanan, Henry H. Mashburn, Puneet Kumar, David C. Steere, James J. Kistler


Recoverable virtual memory refers to regions of a virtual address space on which transactional guarantees are offered. This paper describes RVM, an efficient, portable, and easily used implementation of recoverable virtual memory for Unix environments. A unique characteristic of RVM is that it allows independent control over the transactional properties of atomicity, permanence, and serializability. This leads to considerable flexibility in the use of RVM, potentially enlarging the range of applications than can benefit from transactions. It also simplifies the layering of functionality such as nesting and distribution. The paper shows that RVM performs well over its intended range of usage even though it does not benefit from specialized operating system support. It also demonstrates the importance of intra- and inter-transaction optimizations.