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Towards Scalable Multiprocessor Virtual Machines

Towards Scalable Multiprocessor Virtual Machines

Volkmar Uhlig, Joshua LeVasseur, Espen Skoglund, and Uwe Dannowski


Proceedings of the 3rd Virtual Machine Research & Technology Symposium (VM'04), May 6-7, 2004, San Jose, CA

Date: 06.-07.05.2004


A multiprocessor virtual machine benefits its guest operating system in supporting scalable job throughput and request latency---useful properties in server consolidation where servers require several of the system processors for steady state or to handle load bursts.
Typical operating systems, optimized for multiprocessor systems in their use of spin-locks for critical sections, can defeat flexible virtual machine scheduling due to lock-holder preemption and misbalanced load. The virtual machine must assist the guest operating system to avoid lock-holder preemption and to schedule jobs with knowledge of asymmetric processor allocation. We want to support a virtual machine environment with flexible scheduling policies, while maximizing guest performance.

This paper presents solutions to avoid lock-holder preemption for both fully virtualized and paravirtualized environments. Experiments show that we can nearly eliminate the effects of lock-holder preemption. Furthermore, the paper presents a scheduler feedback mechanism that despite the presence of asymmetric processor allocation achieves optimal and fair load balancing in the guest operating system.


    author = {Volkmar Uhlig and Joshua LeVasseur and Espen Skoglund and Uwe Dannowski},
    title = {Towards Scalable Multiprocessor Virtual Machines},
    booktitle = {Proceedings of the 3rd Virtual Machine Research and Technology Symposium},
    address = {San Jose, CA},
    month = may # "~6--7",
    year = 2004,
    pages = {43--56},
    affiliation = {University of Karlsruhe, Germany}