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Achieving 10 Gb/s using Safe and Transparent Network Interface Virtualization

Ram, Kaushik Kumar; Santos, Jose Renato; Turner, Yoshio; Cox, Alan L.; Rixner, Scott
HP Laboratories


Keyword(s): virtual machine, virtualization, performance analysis, I/O, networking, device drivers.

Abstract: This paper presents mechanisms and optimizations to reduce the overhead of network interface virtualization when using the driver domain I/O virtualization model. The driver domain model provides benefits such as support for legacy device drivers and fault isolation. However, the processing overheads incurred in the driver domain to achieve these benefits limit overall I/O performance. This paper demonstrates the effectiveness of two approaches to reduce driver domain overheads. First, Xen is modified to support multi-queue network interfaces to eliminate the software overheads of packet demultiplexing and copying. Second, a grant reuse mechanism is developed to reduce memory protection overheads. These mechanisms shift the bottleneck from the driver domain to the guest domains, improving scalability and enabling significantly higher data rates. This paper also presents and evaluates a series of optimizations that substantially reduce the I/O virtualization overheads in the guest domain. In combination, these mechanisms and optimizations increase the maximum throughput achieved by guest domains from 2.9 Gb/s to full 10 Gigabit Ethernet link rates.

10 Pages

Additional Publication Information: To be presented at the 2009 ACM SIGPLAN/SIGOPS International Conference on Virtual Execution Environments (VEE 2009), Washington, DC.

External Posting Date: February 6, 2009 [Fulltext]. Approved for External Publication
Internal Posting Date: February 6, 2009 [Fulltext]

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