A Case for Self-Managing DRAM Chips: Improving Performance, Efficiency, Reliability, and Security via Autonomous in-DRAM Maintenance Operations. (arXiv:2207.13358v3 [cs.AR] UPDATED)
The memory controller is in charge of managing DRAM maintenance operations
(e.g., refresh, RowHammer protection, memory scrubbing) in current DRAM chips.
Implementing new maintenance operations often necessitates modifications in the
DRAM interface, memory controller, and potentially other system components.
Such modifications are only possible with a new DRAM standard, which takes a
long time to develop, leading to slow progress in DRAM systems.
In this paper, our goal is to 1) ease, and thus accelerate, the process of
enabling new DRAM maintenance operations and 2) enable more efficient in-DRAM
maintenance operations. Our idea is to set the memory controller free from
managing DRAM maintenance. To this end, we propose Self-Managing DRAM (SMD), a
new low-cost DRAM architecture that enables implementing new in-DRAM
maintenance mechanisms (or modifying old ones) with no further changes in the
DRAM interface, memory controller, or other system components. We use SMD to
implement new in-DRAM maintenance mechanisms for three use cases: 1) periodic
refresh, 2) RowHammer protection, and 3) memory scrubbing. We show that SMD
enables easy adoption of efficient maintenance mechanisms that significantly
improve the system performance and energy efficiency while providing higher
reliability compared to conventional DDR4 DRAM. A combination of SMD-based
maintenance mechanisms that perform refresh, RowHammer protection, and memory
scrubbing achieve 7.6% speedup and consume 5.2% less DRAM energy on average
across 20 memory-intensive four-core workloads. We make SMD source code openly
and freely available at .