Journal of Grid Computing

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 83–98 | Cite as

Scalability Comparison of Four Host Virtualization Tools

  • Benjamin Quétier
  • Vincent Neri
  • Franck Cappello


Virtualization tools are becoming popular in the context of Grid Computing because they allow running multiple operating systems on a single host and provide a confined execution environment. In several Grid projects, virtualization tools are envisioned to run many virtual machines per host. This immediately raises the issue of virtualization scalability.

In this paper, we compare the scalability merits of Four virtualization tools. First, from a simple experiment, we motivate the need for simple microbenchmarks. Second, we present a set of metrics and related methodologies. We propose four microbenchmarks to measure the different scalability parameters for the different machine resources (CPU, memory disk and network) on three scalability metrics (overhead, linearity and isolation). Third, we compare four virtual machine technologies (Vserver, Xen, UML and VMware).

The results of this study demonstrate that all the compared tools present different behaviors with respect to scalability, in terms of overhead, resource occupation and isolation. Thus this work will help user to select tools according to their application characteristics.

Key words

virtual machines scalability performance comparison overhead evaluation 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Adabala, S., Chadha, V., Chawla, P., Figueiredo, R., Fortes, J., Krsul, I., Matsunaga, A., Tsugawa, M., Zhang, J., Zhao, M., Zhu, L., Zhu, X.: From virtualized resources to virtual computing Grids: the in-vigo system. In: ELSEVIER (ed.) Future Generation Computer Systems (2004)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Barham, P., Dragovic, B., Fraser, K., Hand, S., Harris, T., Ho, A., Neugebauer, R., Pratt, I., Warfield, A.: Xen and the art of virtualization. In: Proceedings of the Nineteenth ACM Symposium on Operating Systems Principles, pp. 164–177. SOSP, ACM Press, New York (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bavier, A., Bowman, M., Chun, B., Culler, D., Karlin, S., Muir, S., Peterson, L., Roscoe, T., Spalink, T., Wawrzoniak, M.: Operating systems support for planetary-scale network services. In: First Symposium on Network Systems Design and Implementation, NSDI ’04, San Francisco, California, March 2004Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bruno, J., Brustoloni, J., Gabber, E., Ozden, B., Silberschatz, A.: Retrofitting quality of service into a time-sharing operating system. In: Proceedings of the USENIX Annual Technical Conference, Monterey, California, June 1999Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Childs, S., Coghlan, B., OCallaghan, D., Quigley, G., Walsh, J.: A single-computer Grid gateway using virtual machines. In: Proceedings of AINA ’05: The IEEE 19th International Conference on Advanced Information Networking and Applications, Taiwan. IEEE Computer Society, March 2005Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Figueiredo, R.J., Dinda, P.A., Fortes, J.A.B.: A case for Grid computing on virtual machines. In: Proceedings of the 23rd International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems, ICDS, Providence, Rhode Island. IEEE Computer Society, 2003Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Gelinas, J.: Virtual private servers and security contexts., 2003
  8. 8.
    Grid Explorer project.{fci/GdX}
  9. 9.
    Hoxer, H.J., Buchacker, K., Sieh, V.: Implementing a user mode linux with minimal changes from original kernel. In: Proceedings of 9th International Linux System Technology Conference, Cologne, Germany, September 2002Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Jiang, X., Xu, D.: Soda: a service-on-demand architecture for application service hosting utility platforms. In: Proceedings of The 12th IEEE International Symposium on High Performance Distributed Computing (HPDC-12), Seattle, Washington, June 2003Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Krsul, I., Ganguly, A., Zhang, J., Fortes, J.A.B., Figueiredo, R.J.: Vmplants: Providing and managing virtual machine execution environments for Grid computing. In: Supercomputing ’04: Proceedings of the 2004 ACM/IEEE conference on Supercomputing (CDROM), Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. IEEE Computer Society, 2004Google Scholar
  12. 12.
  13. 13.
  14. 14.
    Smith, J., Ravi, N.: In: Virtual Machines: Versatile Platforms for Systems and Processes. Morgan Kaufmann, San Francisco, California (2005)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Song, H.J., Liu, X., Jakobsen, D., Bhagwan, R., Zhang, X., Taura, K., Chien, A.: The microGrid: a scientific tool for modeling computational Grids. In: Supercomputing ’00: Proceedings of the 2000 ACM/IEEE conference on Supercomputing (CDROM), Dallas, Texas, p. 53. IEEE Computer Society (2000)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Sundararaj, A., Dinda, P.: Towards virtual networks for virtual machine Grid computing. In: Proceedings of the third USENIX Virtual Machine Research and Technology Symposium (VM 04), San Jose, California, May 2004Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Waldspurger, C.A.: Memory resource management in VMware ESX server. SIGOPS Oper. Syst. Rev. 36(SI), 181–194 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Whitaker, A., Shaw, M., Gribble, S.D.: Lightweight virtual machines for distributed and networked applications. Technical Report 02-02-01, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, 2002Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Whitaker, A., Shaw, M., Gribble, S.D.: Scale and performance in the denali isolation kernel. In: Proceedings of the Fifth Symposium on Operating System Design and Implementation (OSDI), Boston, Massachusetts, December 2002Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Whitaker, A., Shaw, M., Gribble, S.D.: Scale and performance in the denali isolation kernel. In: OSDI, Boston, Massachusetts, 2002Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Xu, D., Jiang, X.: Collapsar: a vm-based architecture for network attack detention center. In: Proceedings of the 13th USENIX Security Symposium (Security ’04), San Diego, California, August 2004Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Zhao, M., Zhang, J., Figueiredo, R.J.: Distributed file system support for virtual machines in Grid computing. In: Proceedings HPDC13: The Thirteenth IEEE International Symposium onHigh-PerformanceDistributed Computing, Honolulu, Hawaii, June 2004Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Benjamin Quétier
    • 1
  • Vincent Neri
    • 1
  • Franck Cappello
    • 1
  1. 1.INRIA/LRIUniversité Paris-SudOrsayFrance

Personalised recommendations