Disaggregated memory can address resource provisioning inefficiencies in current datacenters. Multiple software runtimes for disaggregated memory have been proposed in an attempt to make disaggregated memory practical. These systems rely on the virtual memory subsystem to transparently offer disaggregated memory to applications using a local memory abstraction. Unfortunately, using virtual memory for disaggregation has multiple limitations, including high overhead that comes from the use of page faults to identify what data to fetch and cache locally, and high dirty data amplification that comes from the use of page-granularity for tracking changes to the cached data (4KB or higher).
In this paper, we propose a fundamentally new approach to design software runtimes for disaggregated memory to address these limitations. Our main observation is that we can use cache coherence instead of virtual memory for tracking applications’ memory accesses transparently, at cache-line granularity. This simple idea (1) eliminates page faults from the application critical path when accessing remote data, and (2) decouples the application memory access tracking from the virtual memory page size, enabling cache-line granularity dirty data tracking and eviction. Using this observation, we implemented a new software runtime for disaggregated memory that improves access time by 1.7-5X and reduces dirty data amplification by 2-10X, compared to state-of-the art systems.