Prof. Dr. Tilmann Rabl


Lawrence Benson had successfully defended his Ph.D. dissertation on November 09th, 2023 at the HPI! His work is focused on the topic "Efficient State Management with Persistent Memory".

Abstract of his work:

Efficiently managing large state is a key challenge for data management systems. Traditionally, state is split into fast but volatile state in memory for processing and persistent but slow state on secondary storage for durability. Persistent memory (PMem), as a new technology in the storage hierarchy, blurs the lines between these states by offering both byte-addressability and low latency like DRAM as well persistence like secondary storage. These characteristics have the potential to cause a major performance shift in database systems. Driven by the potential impact that PMem has on data management systems, in this thesis we explore their use of PMem. We first evaluate the performance of real PMem hardware in the form of Intel Optane in a wide range of setups. To this end, we propose PerMA-Bench, a configurable benchmark framework that allows users to evaluate the performance of customizable database-related PMem access. Based on experimental results obtained with PerMA-Bench, we discuss findings and identify general and implementation-specific aspects that influence PMem performance and should be considered in future work to improve PMem-aware designs. We then propose Viper, a hybrid PMem-DRAM key-value store. Based on PMem-aware access patterns, we show how to leverage PMem and DRAM efficiently to design a key database component. Our evaluation shows that Viper outperforms existing key-value stores by 4–18× for inserts while offering full data persistence and achieving similar or better lookup performance. Next, we show which changes must be made to integrate PMem components into larger systems. By the example of stream processing engines, we highlight limitations of current designs and propose a prototype engine that overcomes these limitations. This allows our prototype to fully leverage PMem’s performance for its internal state management. Finally, in light of Optane’s discontinuation, we discuss how insights from PMem research can be transferred to future multi-tier memory setups by the example of Compute Express Link (CXL). Overall, we show that PMem offers high performance for state management, bridging the gap between fast but volatile DRAM and persistent but slow secondary storage. Although Optane was discontinued, new memory technologies are continuously emerging in various forms and we outline how novel designs for them can build on insights from existing PMem research.