SCHEDULE: NOV 10-16, 2012
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A Study of DRAM Failures in the Field
SESSION: Fault Detection and Analysis
EVENT TYPE: Papers
TIME: 10:30AM - 11:00AM
SESSION CHAIR: Pedro C. Diniz
AUTHOR(S):Vilas Sridharan, Dean Liberty
Most modern computer systems use dynamic random access memory (DRAM) as a main memory store. Recent publications have confirmed that DRAM is a common source of failures in the field. Therefore, further attention to the faults experienced by DRAM is warranted. We present a study of 11 months of DRAM errors in a large high-performance computing cluster. Our goal is to understand the failure modes, rates, and fault types experienced by DRAM in production settings. We draw several conclusions from our study. First, DRAM failure modes appear dominated by permanent faults. Second, DRAMs are susceptible to large multi-bit failures, such as failures that affect an entire DRAM row or column. Third, some DRAM failures can affect shared board-level circuitry, disrupting accesses to other DRAM devices that share the same circuitry. Finally, we find that chipkill functionality is extremely effective, reducing the node failure rate from DRAM errors by over 36x.
Pedro C. Diniz (Chair) - University of Southern California
Vilas Sridharan - AMD
Dean Liberty - AMD