Trustworthy Systems

The Sawmill multiserver approach


Alain Gefflaut, Trent Jaeger, Yoonho Park, Jochen Liedtke, Kevin Elphinstone, Volkmar Uhlig, Jonathon E. Tidswell, Luke Deller and Lars Reuther

IBM Watson Research Center

Systems Architecture Group
University of Karlsruhe

School of Computer Science and Engineering
The University of New South Wales
Sydney 2052


Multiserver systems, operating systems composed from a set of hardware-protected servers, initially generated significant interest in the early 1990's. If a monolithic operating system could be decomposed into a set of servers with well-defined interfaces and well-understood protection mechanisms, then the robustness and configurability of operating systems could be improved significantly. However, initial multiserver systems were hampered by poor performance and software engineering complexity.

In this paper, we define the SawMill multiserver approach. This approach consists of: (1) an architecture upon which efficient and robust multiserver systems can be constructed and (2) a set of protocol design guidelines for solving key multiserver problems. We demonstrate the SawMill approach for two server systems derived from the Linux code base: (1) an Ext2 file system and (2) an IP network system.

BibTeX Entry

    address          = {Kolding, Denmark},
    author           = {Alain Gefflaut and Trent Jaeger and Yoonho Park and Jochen Liedtke and Kevin J. Elphinstone and
                        Volkmar Uhlig and Jonathon E. Tidswell and Luke Deller and Lars Reuther},
    booktitle        = {SIGOPS European Workshop},
    doi              = {10.1145/566726.566751},
    pages            = {109--114},
    paperurl         = {},
    publisher        = {ACM},
    title            = {The {Sawmill} multiserver approach},
    year             = {2000}