An Analysis of Call-site Patching Without Strong Hardware Support for Self-Modifying-Code
With micro-services continuously gaining popularity and low-power processors making their way into data centers, efficient execution of managed runtime systems on low-power architectures is also gaining interest. Apart from the inherent performance differences between high and low power processors, porting a managed runtime system to a low-power architecture may result in spuriously introducing additional overheads and design trade-offs. In this work we investigate how the lack of strong hardware support for Self Modifying Code (SMC) in low-power architectures, influences Just-In-Time (JIT) compilation and execution in modern virtual machines. In particular, we examine how low-power architectures, with no or limited hardware support for SMC, impose restrictions on call-site implementations, when the latter need to be patchable by the runtime system. We present four different memory-safe implementations for call-site generation and discuss their advantages and disadvantages in the absence of strong hardware support for SMC. Finally, we evaluate each technique on different workloads using micro-benchmarks and we evaluate the best two techniques on the Dacapo benchmark suite showcasing performance differences up to 15%.
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Tim HartleyThe University of Manchester, Foivos S. ZakkakUniversity of Manchester, UK, Christos KotselidisUniversity of Manchester, UK, Mikel LujánUniversity of ManchesterLink to publication DOI Authorizer link