A Proposition and Evaluation of DSM Models Suitable for a Wide Area Distributed Environment Realized on High Performance Networks

Hitoshi AIDA

IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Communications   Vol.E79-B    No.2    pp.153-162
Publication Date: 1996/02/25
Online ISSN: 
Print ISSN: 0916-8516
Type of Manuscript: PAPER
Category: Communication Networks and Services
distributed shared memory,  wide area distributed environment,  shared virtual memory,  multi-casting,  high performance networks,  

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Distributed shared memory is an attractive option for realizing functionally distributed computing in a wide area distributed environment, because of its simplicity and flexibility in software programming. However, up till now, distributed shared memory has mainly been studied in a local environment. In a widely distributed environment, latency of communication greatly affects system performance. Moreover, bandwidth of networks available in a wide area is dramatically increasing recently. DSM architecture using high performance networks must be different from the case of low speed networks being used. In this paper, distributed shared memory models in a widely distributed environment are discussed and evaluated. First, existing distributed shared memory models are examined: They are shared virtual memory and replicated shared memory. Next, an improved replicated shared memory model, which uses internal machine memory, is proposed. In this model, we assume the existence of a seamless, multi-cast wide area network infrastructure - for example, an ATM network. A prototype of this model using multi-thread programming have been implemented on multi-CPU SPARCstations and an ATM-LAN. These DSM models are compared with SCRAMNetTM, whose mechanism is based on replicated shared memory. Results from this evaluation show the superiority of the replicated shared memory compared to shared virtual memory when the length of the network is large. While replicated shared memory using external memory is influenced by the ratio of local and global accesses, replicated shared memory using internal machine memory is suitable for a wide variety of cases. The replicated shared memory model is considered to be suitable particularly for applications which impose real time operation in a widely distributed environment, since some latency hiding techniques such as context switching or data prefetching are not effective for real time demands.