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The applicability of stack processing for evaluation of storage hierarchies has been limited to two-level systems and to a very special group of multilevel hierarchies. A generalization of stack processing, called joint stack processing, is introduced. This technique makes possible the efficient determination of hit ratios for a class of multilevel hierarchies—staging hierarchies. These hierarchies are rather realistic in the sense that they allow for multiple block sizes and multiple copies of data in the hierarchy. Properties of storage management schemes that lend themselves to joint stack processing are studied, and the notion of distributed hierarchy management is described and illustrated.
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