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The performance of streaming media servers has been limited due to the dual requirements of high throughput and low memory use. Although disk throughput has been enjoying a 40% annual increase, slower improvements in disk access times necessitate the use of large DRAM buffers to improve the overall streaming throughput. MEMS-based storage is an exciting new technology that promises to bridge the widening performance gap between DRAM and disk-drives in the memory hierarchy. We explore the impact of integrating these devices into the memory hierarchy on the class of streaming media applications. We evaluate the use of MEMS-based storage for buffering and caching streaming data. We also show how a bank of k MEMS devices can be managed in either configuration and that they can provide a k-fold improvement in both throughput and access latency. An extensive analytical study shows that using MEMS storage can reduce the buffering cost and improve the throughput of streaming servers significantly.
Date of Conference: 5-8 March 2003