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Disk Caching in Large Databases and Timeshared Systems

Zivkov, Barbara Tockey
Smith, Alan Jay
Technical Report Identifier: CSD-96-913
September 1996

Abstract: We present the results of a variety of trace-driven simulations of disk cache design. Our traces come from a variety of mainframe timesharing and database systems in production use. We compute miss ratios, run lengths, traffic ratios, cache residency times, degree of memory pollution and other statistics for a variety of designs, varying block size, prefetching algorithm and write algorithm. We find that for this workload, sequential prefetching produces a significant (about 20%) but still limited improvement in the miss ratio, even using a powerful technique for detecting sequentiality. Copy-back writing decreased write traffic relative to write-through; periodic flushing of the dirty blocks increased write traffic only slightly compared to pure write-back, and then only for large cache sizes. Write-allocate had little effect compared to no-write-allocate. Block sizes of over a track don't appear to be useful. Limiting cache occupancy by a single processor transaction appears to have little effect. This study is unique in the variety and quality of the data used in the studies.