HP Labs Technical Reports

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Process Migration

Milojicic, Dejan; Douglis, Fred; Paindaveine, Yves; Wheeler, Richard; Zhou, Songnian


Keyword(s): process migration; distributed systems; distributed operating systems; load distribution

Abstract: Process migration is the act of transferring a process between two machines. It enables dynamic load distribution, fault resilience, eased system administration, and data access locality. Despite these goals and ongoing research efforts, migration has not achieved widespread use. With the increasing deployment of distributed systems in general, and distributed operating systems in particular, process migration is again receiving more attention in both research and product development. As high performance facilities shift from supercomputers to networks of workstations, and with the ever-increasing role of the World Wide Web, we expect migration to play a more important role and eventually to be widely adopted. This survey reviews the field of process migration by summarizing the key concepts and giving an overview of the most important implementations. Design and implementation issues of process migration are analyzed in general, and then revisited for each of the case studies described: MOSIX, Sprite, Mach and Load Sharing Facility. The benefits and drawbacks of process migration depend on the details of implementation and therefore this paper focuses on practical matters. This survey will help in understanding the potentials of process migration and why it has not caught on.

48 Pages

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