Title: Efficient online memory error assessment and circumvention for Linux with RAMpage

Authors: Horst Schirmeier; Ingo Korb; Olaf Spinczyk; Michael Engel

Addresses: Department of Computer Science 12, Technische Universität Dortmund, Otto-Hahn-Str. 16, 44221 Dortmund, Germany ' Department of Computer Science 12, Technische Universität Dortmund, Otto-Hahn-Str. 16, 44221 Dortmund, Germany ' Department of Computer Science 12, Technische Universität Dortmund, Otto-Hahn-Str. 16, 44221 Dortmund, Germany ' Department of Computer Science 12, Technische Universität Dortmund, Otto-Hahn-Str. 16, 44221 Dortmund, Germany

Abstract: Memory errors are a major source of reliability problems in computer systems. Undetected errors may result in program termination or, even worse, silent data corruption. Recent studies have shown that the frequency of permanent memory errors is an order of magnitude higher than previously assumed and regularly affects everyday operation. To reduce the impact of memory errors, we designed RAMpage, a purely software-based infrastructure to assess and circumvent permanent memory errors in a running commodity x86-64 Linux-based system. We briefly describe the design and implementation of RAMpage and present new results from an extensive qualitative and quantitative evaluation. These results show the efficiency of our approach - RAMpage is able to provide a smooth graceful degradation in the presence of permanent memory errors while requiring only a small overhead in terms of CPU time, energy, and memory space.

Keywords: memory errors; software-based fault tolerance; DRAM chips; silent data corruption; operating systems; reliable operation; software reliability; Linux; RAMpage; CPU time; energy consumption; memory space.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCCBS.2013.058397

International Journal of Critical Computer-Based Systems, 2013 Vol.4 No.3, pp.227 - 247

Available online: 22 Dec 2013 *

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