The NIC Caching Scheme
A user level communication protocol that is employed in a cluster based Web
server requires an intelligent/programmable Network Interface Card (NIC) to facilitate
direct communication between a user and a Network Interface (NI) [36, 60, 37, 16].
NICs have, therefore, a profound impact on the overall communication performance
[26, 34, 46]. Traditionally, the on chip/local memory of a NIC is usually small in size
and is used primarily for establishing and maintaining connections in a cluster. However,
recent trends show that many modern programmable NICs come with a large amount of
on chip memory compared to the Ethernet based NICs. Thus, we propose a NIC caching
scheme that takes advantage of the large NIC memory for enhancing performance. In our
proposed scheme, the NIC memory is used by Web servers to cache Web content locally
or remotely. That is, requested data can be read from the local NIC memory or from
the remote NIC memory. A read from the local NIC memory is done when a requested
file is not in the local cache, but in the local NIC memory. This is beneficial since the
NIC memory can be used as extended memory. A read from a remote NIC memory
occurs when a remote node serves a requested file in its NIC memory and forwards to
it the requesting (initial) node. This is beneficial because it reduces the PCI traffic and
DMA transfer time. We use three Web server traces (i.e., Penn State CSE (CSE) [63],
UC Berkeley (UCB) [71] and Penn State University (PSU) [62] traces) to analyze the
impact of our proposed NIC caching schemes.



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