Starling: Minimizing Communication Overhead in Virtualized Computing Platforms Using Decentralized Affinity-Aware Migration

Date of Submission: 
December 2, 2009
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Virtualization is being widely used in large-scale computing environments, such as clouds, data centers, and grids, to provide application portability and facilitate resource multiplexing while retaining application isolation. In many existing virtualized platforms, it has been found that the network bandwidth often becomes the bottleneck resource, causing both high network contention and reduced performance for communication and data-intensive applications. In this paper, we present a decentralized affinity-aware migration technique that incorporates heterogeneity and dynamism in network topology and job communication patterns to allocate virtual machines on the available physical resources. Our technique monitors network affinity between pairs of VMs and uses a distributed bartering algorithm, coupled with migration, to dynamically adjust VM placement such that communication overhead is minimized. Our experimental results running the Intel MPI benchmark and a scientific application on a 7-node Xen cluster show that we can get up to 42% improvement in the runtime of the application over a no-migration technique, while achieving up to 85% reduction in network communication cost. In addition, our technique is able to adjust to dynamic variations in communication patterns and provides both good performance and low network contention with minimal overhead. We also present a topology-aware extension to our migration algorithm that provides an additional 26-31% reduction in runtime.