Minimal-overhead virtualization of a large scale supercomputer

John R. Lange, Kevin Pedretti, Peter A Dinda, Chang Bae, Patrick G. Bridges, Philip Soltero, Alexander Merritt

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

31 Scopus citations

Abstract

Virtualization has the potential to dramatically increase the usability and reliability of high performance computing (HPC) systems. However, this potential will remain unrealized unless overheads can be minimized. This is particularly challenging on large scale machines that run carefully crafted HPC OSes supporting tightlycoupled, parallel applications. In this paper, we show how careful use of hardware and VMM features enables the virtualization of a large-scale HPC system, specifically a Cray XT4 machine, with <5% overhead on key HPC applications, microbenchmarks, and guests at scales of up to 4096 nodes. We describe three techniques essential for achieving such low overhead: passthrough I/O, workload-sensitive selection of paging mechanisms, and carefully controlled preemption. These techniques are forms of symbiotic virtualization, an approach on which we elaborate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2011 ACM SIGPLAN/SIGOPS International Conference on Virtual Execution Environments, VEE 2011
Pages169-180
Number of pages12
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 4 2011
Event7th ACM SIGPLAN/SIGOPS Conference on Virtual Execution Environments, VEE'11 - Newport Beach, CA, United States
Duration: Mar 9 2011Mar 11 2011

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 2011 ACM SIGPLAN/SIGOPS International Conference on Virtual Execution Environments, VEE 2011

Other

Other7th ACM SIGPLAN/SIGOPS Conference on Virtual Execution Environments, VEE'11
CountryUnited States
CityNewport Beach, CA
Period3/9/113/11/11

Keywords

  • Experimentation
  • General terms design
  • Measurement
  • Performance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Software

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