ACMES team

Samovar lab

GiantVM: a type-II hypervisor implementing many-to-one virtualization

Reading group: Mickaël Boichot presented "GiantVM: a type-II hypervisor implementing many-to-one virtualization" (VEE'20) in visio the 22/1/2021 at 10h00.

You can find the video of the presentation here.


In recent years, since scale-up machines are not economical and may not be affordable for small businesses, scale-out has become the standard answer to data analysis, machine learning, and many other fields. However, these frameworks introduce complex programming models that put a burden on developers. Therefore, Single System Image (SSI), which means a cluster of machines that appears to be one single system, has been proposed to hide the complexity of distributed systems. Unfortunately, due to the mature ecosystem of current mainstream Operating Systems (OSes), it might be non-trivial and even unaffordable to modify the current OS to implement SSI. With the wide use of virtualization, we believe that it is appealing to support SSI at the hypervisor, without modifying guest OSes.

This paper presents GiantVM, an open-source distributed hypervisor that provides the many-to-one virtualization to aggregate resources from multiple physical machines, as well as providing a uniform hardware abstraction for guest OS. GiantVM combines the benefits of scale-up and scale-out solutions, which means unmodified applications are able to run with a huge amount of physical resources. Furthermore, GiantVM leverages distributed shared memory to achieve aggregation of memory. We also propose techniques to deal with the challenges of CPU and I/O virtualization in distributed environments. We have implemented GiantVM based on a state-of-the-art type-II hypervisor QEMU-KVM, and it can currently host conventional OSes such as Linux. Evaluations identify the performance bottleneck and show that GiantVM outperforms Spark by up to 3.4X with two text-processing programs.