Operating System Support for Safe and Efficient Auxiliary Execution


Yuzhuo Jing and Peng Huang, Johns Hopkins University


Modern applications run various auxiliary tasks. These tasks gain high observability and control by executing in the application address space, but doing so causes safety and performance issues. Running them in a separate process offers strong isolation but poor observability and control.

In this paper, we propose special OS support for auxiliary tasks to address this challenge with an abstraction called orbit. An orbit task offers strong isolation. At the same time, it conveniently observes the main program with an automatic state synchronization feature. We implement the abstraction in the Linux kernel. We use orbit to port 7 existing auxiliary tasks and add one new task in 6 large applications. The evaluation shows that the orbit-version tasks have strong isolation with comparable performance of the original unsafe tasks.

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@inproceedings {280916,
author = {Yuzhuo Jing and Peng Huang},
title = {Operating System Support for Safe and Efficient Auxiliary Execution},
booktitle = {16th USENIX Symposium on Operating Systems Design and Implementation (OSDI 22)},
year = {2022},
isbn = {978-1-939133-28-1},
address = {Carlsbad, CA},
pages = {633--648},
url = {https://www.usenix.org/conference/osdi22/presentation/jing},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = jul,