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Scalability of write-ahead logging on multicore and multisocket hardware


The shift to multi-core and multi-socket hardware brings new challenges to database systems, as the software parallelism determines performance. Even though database systems traditionally accommodate simultaneous requests, a multitude of synchronization barriers serialize execution. Write-ahead logging is a fundamental, omnipresent component in ARIES-style concurrency and recovery, and one of the most important yet-to-be addressed potential bottlenecks, especially in OLTP workloads making frequent small changes to data. In this paper, we identify four logging-related impediments to database system scalability. Each issue challenges different level in the software architecture: (a) the high volume of small-sized I/O requests may saturate the disk, (b) transactions hold locks while waiting for the log flush, (c) extensive context switching overwhelms the OS scheduler with threads executing log I/Os, and (d) contention appears as transactions serialize accesses to in-memory log data structures. We demonstrate these problems and address them with techniques that, when combined, comprise a holistic, scalable approach to logging. Our solution achieves a 20–69% speedup over a modern database system when running log-intensive workloads, such as the TPC-B and TATP benchmarks, in a single-socket multiprocessor server. Moreover, it achieves log insert throughput over 2.2 GB/s for small log records on the single-socket server, roughly 20 times higher than the traditional way of accessing the log using a single mutex. Furthermore, we investigate techniques on scaling the performance of logging to multi-socket servers. We present a set of optimizations which partly ameliorate the latency penalty that comes with multi-socket hardware, and then we investigate the feasibility of applying a distributed log buffer design at the socket level.

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Johnson, R., Pandis, I., Stoica, R. et al. Scalability of write-ahead logging on multicore and multisocket hardware. The VLDB Journal 21, 239–263 (2012).

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  • Log manager
  • Early lock release
  • Flush pipelining
  • Log buffer contention
  • Consolidation array
  • Scaling to multisockets