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Enforcing Performance Isolation Across Virtual Machines in Xen

Gupta, Diwaker; Cherkasova, Ludmila; Gardner, Rob; Vahdat, Amin

HPL-2006-77

Keyword(s): virtual machine monitor; device drivers; I/O processing; performance isolation; monitoring framework; measurements; performance evaluation

Abstract: Recently, virtual machines (VMs) have emerged as the basis for allocating resources in enterprise settings and hosting centers. One benefit of VMs in these environments is the ability to multiplex several operating systems on hardware based on dynamically changing system characteristics. However, such multiplexing must often be done while observing per-VM performance guarantees or service level agreements. Thus, one important requirement in this environment is effective performance isolation among VMs. In this paper, we address performance isolation across virtual machines in Xen. For instance, while Xen can allocate fixed shares of CPU among competing VMs, it does not currently account for work done on behalf of individual VM's in device drivers. Thus, the behavior of one VM can negatively impact resources available to other VMs even if appropriate per-VM resource limits are in place. In this paper, we present the design and evaluation of a set of primitives implemented in Xen to address this issue. First, XenMon accurately measures per-VM resource consumption, including work done on behalf of a particular VM in Xen's driver domains. Next, our SEDF-DC scheduler accounts for aggregate VM resource consumption in allocating CPU. Finally, ShareGuard limits the total amount of resources consumed in privileged and driver domains based on administrator-specified limits. Our performance evaluation indicates that our mechanisms effectively enforce performance isolation for a variety of workloads and configurations.

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