Xen and Co. Communication-aware cpu management in consolidated xen-based hosting platforms

Sriram Govindan, Jeonghwan Choi, Arjun R. Nath, Amitayu Das, Bhuvan Urgaonkar, Anand Sivasubramaniam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


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 colocation of antagonistic applications, higher degrees of server consolidation are likely to result in such virtualization-based hosting platforms (VHPs). We identify two shortcomings in existing virtual machine monitors (VMMs) that prove to be obstacles in operating hosting platforms, such as Internet data centers, under conditions of such high consolidation: 1) CPU schedulers that are agnostic to the communication behavior of modern, multitier applications and 2) inadequate or inaccurate mechanisms for accounting the CPU overheads of I/O virtualization. We develop a new communication-aware CPU scheduling algorithm and a CPU usage accounting mechanism. We implement our algorithms in the Xen VMM and build a prototype VHP on a cluster of 36 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 between 20 percent and 35 percent 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA10
Pages (from-to)1111-1125
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Computers
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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