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Performance Isolation, Resource Allocation, and Monitoring Infrastructure in Xen

Virtual machine software makes it possible to ``encapsulate'' different applications in individual virtual machines so that a failure in one virtual machine does not affect other virtual machines hosted on the same physical hardware -- this is fault isolation. However, performance isolation is another important goal. Individual virtual machines are often configured with performance guarantees and expectations, e.g., based on service level agreements. Thus, the resource consumption of one virtual machine should not impact the promised guarantees to other virtual machines on the same hardware. Unfortunately, current virtual machine technology does not provide effective performance isolation. The goal is to design a set of cooperating mechanisms to effectively control total CPU consumption across hosted virtual machines.

Effective management of virtualized IT environments introduces new and unique requirements such as dynamically resizing and migrating virtual machines in response to changing application demands. Such capacity management methods should work in ensemble with the underlying resource management mechanisms. Using Xen and its three different CPU schedulers, we analyze the impact of the choice of scheduler and its parameters on application perfomance and discuss challenges in estimating the application resource requirements in virtualized environments.

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