TCAM-SSD: A Framework For In-SSD Associative Search Using NAND Flash Memory


A new technical paper titled “TCAM-SSD: A Framework for Search-Based Computing in Solid-State Drives” was published by researchers at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Carnegie Mellon University, Samsung Electronics and Sandia National Laboratories.

“As the amount of data produced in society continues to grow at an exponential rate, modern applications are incurring significant performance and energy penalties due to high data movement between the CPU and memory/storage. While processing in main memory can alleviate these penalties, it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep large datasets entirely in main memory. This has led to a recent push for in-storage computation, where processing is performed inside the storage device.

We propose TCAM-SSD, a new framework for search-based computation inside the NAND flash memory arrays of a conventional solid-state drive (SSD), which requires lightweight modifications to only the array periphery and firmware. TCAM-SSD introduces a search manager and link table, which can logically partition the NAND flash memory’s contents into search-enabled regions and standard storage regions. Together, these light firmware changes enable TCAM-SSD to seamlessly handle block I/O operations, in addition to new search operations, thereby reducing end-to-end execution time and total data movement. We provide an NVMe-compatible interface that provides programmers with the ability to dynamically allocate data on and make use of TCAM-SSD, allowing the system to be leveraged by a wide variety of applications. We evaluate three example use cases of TCAM-SSD to demonstrate its benefits. For transactional databases, TCAM-SSD can mitigate the performance penalties for applications with large datasets, achieving a 60.9% speedup over a conventional system that retrieves data from the SSD and computes using the CPU. For database analytics, TCAM-SSD provides an average speedup of 17.7x over a conventional system for a collection of analytical queries. For graph analytics, we combine TCAM-SSD’s associative search with a sparse data structure, speeding up graph computing for larger-than-memory datasets by 14.5%.”

Find the technical paper here. Published March 2024.

Wong, Ryan, Nikita Kim, Kevin Higgs, Sapan Agarwal, Engin Ipek, Saugata Ghose, and Ben Feinberg. “TCAM-SSD: A Framework for Search-Based Computing in Solid-State Drives.” arXiv preprint arXiv:2403.06938 (2024).

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