The design and implementation of a DCD device driver for Unix

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Date of Original Version



Recent research results [1, 2] using simulation have demonstrated that Disk Caching Disk (DCD), a new disk I/O architecture, has the potential for drastically improving disk write performance besides its higher reliability than traditional disk systems. To validate whether DCD can live up to its promise in the real world environment, we have designed and implemented a DCD device driver for the Sun's Solaris operating system. Measured performance results are very promising. For metadata intensive benchmarks, our DCD driver outperforms the traditional system by a factor of 2-6 in terms of program execution speeds. The driver also guarantees file system integrity in the events of system crashes or failures. Moreover, unlike other approaches such as Log-structured File Systems or Soft Updates, the DCD driver is completely transparent to the OS. It does not require any changes to the OS or the on-disk data layout. As a result, it can be used as a "drop-in" replacement for the traditional disk device driver in an existing system to obtain immediate performance improvement. Our multi-layered device-driver approach significantly reduces the implementation overhead and improves portability.

Publication Title

Proceedings of the 1999 USENIX Annual Technical Conference