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The ADvanced Systems Laboratory (ADSL)
Publication abstract

Making the Common Case the Only Case with Anticipatory Memory Allocation

Swaminathan Sundararaman, Yupu Zhang, Sriram Subramanian, Andrea C. Arpaci-Dusseau, Remzi H. Arpaci-Dusseau
Department of Computer Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison


We present Anticipatory Memory Allocation (AMA), a newmethod to build kernel code that is robust to memoryallocation failures. AMA avoids the usual difficulties in handling allocation failures through a novel combination of static and dynamic techniques. Specifically, a developer, with assistance from AMA static analysis tools, determines how much memory a particular call into a kernel subsystem will need, and then pre-allocates said amount immediately upon entry to the kernel; subsequent allocation requests are serviced from the pre-allocated pool and thus guaranteed never to fail. We describe the static and run-time components of AMA, and then present a thorough evaluation of Linux ext2-mfr, a case study in which we transform the Linux ext2 file system into a memoryfailure robust version of itself. Experiments reveal that ext2-mfr avoids memory-allocation failures successfully while incurring little space or time overhead.

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