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Communication-Aware CPU Scheduling for Consolidated Xen-Based Hosting Platforms

Authors (if Research)
Govindan S, Nath AR, Das A, Urgaonkar B, Sivasubramaniam A, Xen and Co.
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Operating Countries
Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Virtual Execution Environments - VEE 2007. New York, New York, USA: ACM Press; 2007:126-136. Recent advances in software and architectural support for server virtualization have created interest in using this technology in the design of consolidated hosting platforms. Since virtualization enables easier and faster application migration as well as secure co-location of antagonistic applications, higher degrees of server consolidation are likely to result in such virtualization-based hosting platforms (VHPs). We identify a key shortcoming in existing virtual machine monitors (VMMs) that proves to be an obstacle in operating hosting platforms, such as Internet data centers, under conditions of such high consolidation: CPU schedulers that are agnostic to the communication behavior of modern, multi-tier applications. We develop a new communication-aware CPU scheduling algorithm to alleviate this problem. We implement our algorithm in the Xen VMM and build a prototype VHP on a cluster of servers. Our experimental evaluation with realistic Internet server applications and benchmarks demonstrates the performance/cost benefits and the wide applicability of our algorithms. For example, the TPC-W benchmark exhibited improvements in average response times of up to 35% for a variety of consolidation scenarios. A streaming media server hosted on our prototype VHP was able to satisfactorily service up to 3.5 times as many clients as one running on the default Xen.
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