Paged Virtual Memory Management (VMM)

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Dec 14, 2013 (3 years and 5 months ago)

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Paged VMM


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Paged Virtual Memory Management (VMM)
(11/05/2003)


With the advent of 64
-
bit address architectures, the ancient principle of paged Virtual Memory
Management (VMM) experiences a revival in the early 2000s. Originally, the driving principle
for developing VMM systems (
paged

or
segmented

or both) was the hung
er for more addressable
program memory than was available in physical memory. Scarceness was caused by the high cost
of memory. The early technology of core memories carried a high price tag due to the tedious
manual labor involved. Now the days of high co
st per byte of memory are gone. But the days of
having insufficient physical memory have returned, with 64 bit addresses. What applications are
sufficiently served with just a few Gigabytes of physical memory? Only trivial ones




Paged VMM is based on the idea that with small physical storage some memory areas can be
relocated out to disk, while others areas can be moved back from disc into memory when needed.
Disk space abounds while main memory is limited. This relocation

in and out, called
swapping
,
can be handled transparently, thus imposing no additional constraint of the application
programmer. The system must detect situations in which an address references an object that is
on disk and must therefore perform the hidd
en swap
-
in automatically.


Paged VMM trades speed for address range. The loss in speed is caused by the need to map
logical
-
to
-
physical, and by the more than occasional disk accesses. A typical disk access can be
100s of 1000s to millions of times more exp
ensive
-
in number of cycles
-

than a memory access
(load or a store operation). However, if virtual memory mapping allows large programs to run,
albeit slowly, that previously could not execute due to their high demands of memory, then the
trade
-
off seems w
orth the loss in speed. The real trade
-
off is: being able to execute programs
hungry for memory but slowly versus not executing them but swiftly.


Synopsis



Steps of Paged Virtual Memory Management



The Mapping Steps (Two
-
Level Mapping)



Definitions



History of Paging



Goals and Methods of Paging



An Unrealistic Paging Scheme



A Realistic Paging Scheme for 32
-
bit Architecture



Typical PD and PT Entries

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Steps of Paged Virtual Memory Management




Instruction references a
logical address



VMM determines, whether
logical address

maps onto a
resident page



If yes, the memory access completes. In a system with L1 cache, such an access is fast



If such access is a
store operation
, (aka
write
) that fact is recorded



If not on a resident pa
ge, the corresponding swapped
-
out page is found on disk and
made available in memory, or else it is created the first time ever



Making a new page available requires finding memory space (page frame)



If such space can be allocated from unused memory (
usually during initial program
execution), it is now reserved



If no page frame is available, a currently resident page is swapped out and the freed
space is reused for the new page



Should the page to be swapped out have be dirty, it must be written t
o disk



Otherwise a copy exists on disk already and the
swap
-
out

operation is empty


The Mapping Steps (Two
-
Level Mapping)




Instruction references a
logical address (la)



Processor finds start address of
Page Directory (PD)



Logical address is par
titioned into three bit fields
, Page Directory Index, Page Table
(PT) Index,

and

Page Offset




Entry in PD is found by adding
PD Index

left
-
shifted by 2 to the start address of PD;
this yields a
PT address



Add
PT Index

left
-
shifted by 2 to previously
found
PT address
; this yields
Page
Address



Add
Page Offset

to previously found
Page Address
; this yields byte address



Along the way there may have been 3 page faults

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Definitions

Demand Paging:

Policy that allocates a page in physical memory only if an address on that page is actually
referenced (demanded) in the executing program.

Dirty Bit:

Data structure (single
-
bit suffices) that tells whether the associated page was written after its
last sw
ap
-
in (or creation).

Global Page:

A page that is used in more than one program; typically found in multi
-
programming
environment with shared pages.

Logical Address:

Address as defined by the architecture. Synonym on Intel architecture: Linear address.
Antonym: physical address.

Page:

A portion of logical memory that is fixed in size. The start address of a page is an integer
multiple of the page size. Antonym: Segment
. A logical
page

is placed into a physical
page
frame
.

Page Frame:

A portion of physical memory that is fixed in size to one page. It starts at a boundary that is
evenly divisible by the page size. Total physical memory should be an integral multiple of
th
e page size.

Page Directory:

A list of addresses for
Page Tables
. Typically this directory consumes an integral number of
pages as well. In addition to page table addresses, each entry also contains information about
presence, access rights, written to
or
not
, global
, etc. similar to
Page Table

entries.

Page Directory Base Register (pdbr):

Resource (typically a register) that holds the address of the
Page Directory

page.

Page Table Base Register (ptbr):

Resource (typically a register) that holds the address

of the
Page Table
. Used in a single
-
level paging scheme. In dual
-
level scheme use
pdbr
.

Page Fault:

Logical address references a page that is not resident. Consequently, space must be found for
the page referenced, and that page must be (created or) swapp
ed in.

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Page Frame:

A physical piece of memory, of page
-
size, and page
-
size aligned, into which a page of actual
information can be placed.

Page Table:

A list of addresses of
Pages
. Typically each page table consumes an integral number of
pages. In addition

to page addresses, each entry also contains information about
presence,
access rights, written to

or not,
global
, etc. similar to
Page Directory

entries.

Physical Memory:

Main memory actually available
physically

on a processor. Antonym: Logical memory.

P
resent Bit:

Single
-
bit data structure that tells, whether the associated page is
resident

or swapped out
onto disk.

Resident:

Attribute of memory object referenced by executing code: Object is physically in memory,
then it is resident, or is not in memory,

then it is
non
-
resident
.

Swap
-
in:

Transfer of a page of information from secondary storage to primary storage (into a page
frame in memory); from disk to physical memory.

Swap
-
out:

Transfer of a page of information from primary to

secondary storage; from physical memory
to disk.

Thrashing:

Excessive amount of swapping. When this happens, performance is severely degraded. This
is an indicator for the
working set

being too small.

Translation Look
-
Aside Buffer:

Special
-
purpose cache f
or storing
Page Directory

and
Page Table

entries.

Virtual Contiguity:

Memory management policy that
separates physical from logical

memory. In particular,
virtual contiguity

creates the impression that two addresses are adjacent in main memory,
while in re
ality they are an arbitrary number of physical locations apart from one another.

Virtual Memory:

Memory management policy that
separates physical from logical

memory. In particular,
virtual memory

can create the impression that a larger amount of memory is

addressable than
is really available on the target.

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Working Set:

That number of allocated physical page frames that ensures that the program executes
without
thrashing
. The amount of physical memory to execute a system must exceed the
working set by the amount of memory necessary for all other system functions.

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History of Paging




Invented about 1960 at University of Manchester for Atlas Computer



Used commercially

in KDF
-
9 computer of English Electric Co.



Ever since claimed to have been invented by most computer manufacturers



In fact, KDF
-
9 was one of the major architectural milestones in computer history
aside from von Neumann’s and Atanasoff’s machines; inc
orporated first cache and
VMM, had hardware display for stack frame addresses, etc.



In the late 1960s to early 1980s, memory was expensive, processors were expensive
and getting fast, and programs grew large. Insufficient memories were common and
were o
ne aspect of the growing
Software
Crisis of the late 1970s



16
-
bit minicomputers and 32
-
bit mainframes became common; also 18
-
bit address
architectures (CDC and Cyber) of 60
-
bit words were common



Paging grew increasingly popular: fast execution was gl
adly traded against large
address range at cost of slower performance



By mid 1980s, memories became cheaper, faster, large ones prevailed



By the late 1980s, memories had become cheaper yet, the address range remained 32
-
bit, and large physical memori
es became possible and available



Several supercomputers were designed with operating systems that provided no
memory virtualization at all, no memory mapping. For example, Cray systems were
built without VMM. The Intel Hypercube NX ® operating system ha
d no virtual
memory management



Just when VMM was falling into disfavor, the addressing limitation of 32 bits started
constraining programs. In the early 1990, 64
-
bit architectures started becoming
common
-
place, rather than an exception



Intermediate s
teps between architectural jumps: The Harris 3
-
byte system with 24
-
bit
addresses, not making the jump to 32 bit quite. The Pentium Pro ® with 36 bits in
extended addressing mode, not quite yet making the jump to 64 bit addresses. Even
the early Itanium ® f
amily processors had only 44 physical address bits, not quite
making the jump to the physical 64 bit address space



By end of 1990s, 64
-
bit addresses were common, 64
-
bit integer

arithmetic will be
performed in hardware, not longer via slow library extensions



Pentium Pro has 4kB pages by default, 4MB pages if page size extension (
pse
) bit is
set in normal addressing mode



However, if the physical address extension (
pae
) bit a
nd
pse

bit are set, the default
page size changes from 4kB to 2 MB

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Goals and Methods of Paging (VMM)




Make full logical (virtual) address space available, even if smaller physical memory
installed



Perform mapping transparently. Thus, if at a later t
ime the target receives a larger
physical memory, the same program will run unchanged except faster



Map logical onto physical address, even if this costs some performance



Implement the mapping in a way that the overhead is small in relation to the to
tal
program execution



A necessary requirement is a sufficiently large working set, but also:



This is accomplished by caching
page directory
-

and
page table entries



Or by placing complete
page directory

into a special cache

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An Unrealistic Paging Scheme




Assume 32
-
bit architecture, byte
-
addressable, 4
-
byte words, 4kB page size



Single
-
level paging mechanism
--
later we’ll cover multi
-
level mapping



With 4kB page size, rightmost 12 bits of each
page address

are all 0, or
implied



Page Table

thus has (32
-
12 = 20) 2
20

entries, each entry typically 4 bytes



Page offset of 12 bits identifies each byte on a 4kB page







With each
Page Table

entry consumin
g 4 bytes, results in
page table

of 4 MB



This is not a good paging scheme, since the

scarce resource, physical memory
,
consumes already a 4MB overhead. Note that
Page Tables

should be resident, as long
as some entries point to resident user pages



Th
us the overhead may exceed the total available resource
-

memory



Moreover, almost all entries are empty; their associated pages do not exist yet,
pointers are null


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Problem: The one data structure that should be resident is too large, consuming
all/most of the physical memory that is so scarce



So: break it into smaller units!



Disadvantage of additional mapping: more memor
y accesses



Advantage: Avoiding large 4MB Page Table

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A Realistic Paging Scheme for 32
-
bit Architecture




Again: 32
-
bit architecture, byte
-
addressable, 4
-
byte words, 4kB page size



Two
-
level paging

mechanism, consisting of
Page Directory

and
Page Tables
in
addition to user pages



With 4kB page size, again rightmost 12 bits of any page address 0


implied



Mechanism to determine a physical address:




Have HW register point to
Page Directory



Or else imple
ment
Page Directory

as a special
-
purpose cache



Or place PD into a
-
priori known memory location



But there must be a way to locate the PD, best without extra memory access



Design principle: have user pages, pages of
Page Tables
, and pages of

Page Di
rectory

look the same: all consume a page frame each




Every logical address is broken into three parts: two indices + one offset



Note that
Page Directory Index

is indeed an index; to find the entry in PD, first << 2
(multiply by 4), add this to the s
tart address of PD, then PD entry found



Similarly,
Page Table Index

is an index; to find the entry: << 2 and add result to the
start address of PT found in previous step, thus entry in PT found



The PT entry holds the addre
ss of the user page, rightmost 12 bit implied all 0



The rightmost 12 bits of a logical address define the page offset within the found user
page



Since pages are 4 kB in size, 12 bits suffice to identify any byte in a page



Given that the address of a user page is found, add the offset to its address, and the
final byte address is identified


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Disadvantage: Multiple memory accesses, total of 3



In fact,

any of these total 3 accesses could cause page faults, resulting in 3 swap
-
ins



Performance loss could be tremendous; i.e. several decimal orders of magnitude
slower than a single memory access



Thus some of these data structures must be cached



In
Intel Pentium Pro ® the Translation Look
-
Aside Buffer (TLB) is a special purpose
cache of PD or PT entries



Also possible to cache the complete PD, since contained in size O( 4 kB )

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Typical PD and PT Entries




Entries in PD and PT need 20 bits for add
ress; lower 12 bits implied



Other 12 bits can be used for additional information



P
-
Bit: Is referenced page present? (aka resident)



R/W/E bit: Can referenced page be read, written, executed, all?



User/Supervisor bit: OS dependent, is page reserv
ed for privileged code?



Typically the P
-
Bit is positioned for quick, easy access: rightmost bit in 4
-
byte word




Some information is unique to PD or PT



For example, P
-
Bit not needed in PD entries, if Page Tables must be present



On systems with
varying page sizes, page size information must be recorded



See examples below:


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If the Operating System exercises a policy to not ever swap
-
out Page Tables, then the respective
PT entries in the PD do not need to track the fact that a PT was modified (i.e. the Dirty bit).
Hence there may be reason
s that PT and PD entries have minor differences. But in general, the
format and structure of PTs and PDs are identical, and the size of user pages, PTs and PDs are
identical.