ECI: a Customizable Cache Coherency Stack for Hybrid FPGA-CPU Architectures

15 Aug 2022  ·  Abishek Ramdas, Michael Giardino, Runbin Shi, Adam Turowski, David Cock, Gustavo Alonso, Timothy Roscoe ·

Unlike other accelerators, FPGAs are capable of supporting cache coherency, thereby turning them into a more powerful architectural option than just a peripheral accelerator. However, most existing deployments of FPGAs are either non-cache coherent or support only an asymmetric design where cache coherency is controlled from the CPU. Taking advantage of a recently released two socket CPU-FPGA architecture, in this paper we describe ECI, a flexible implementation of cache coherency on the FPGA capable of supporting both symmetric and asymmetric protocols. ECI is open and customizable, given applications the opportunity to fully interact with the cache coherency protocol, thereby opening up many interesting system design and research opportunities not available in existing designs. Through extensive microbenchmarks we show that ECI exhibits highly competitive performance and discuss in detail one use-case illustrating the benefits of having an open cache coherency stack on the FPGA.

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Hardware Architecture Distributed, Parallel, and Cluster Computing


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