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NSDI '05 — Abstract

Live Migration of Virtual Machines

Christopher Clark, Keir Fraser, and Steven Hand, University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory; Jacob Gorm Hansen and Eric Jul, University of Copenhagen; Christian Limpach, Ian Pratt, and Andrew Warfield, University of Cambridge


Migrating operating system instances across distinct physical hosts is a useful tool for administrators of data centers and clusters: It allows a clean separation between hardware and software, and facilitates fault management, load balancing, and low-level system maintenance.

By carrying out the majority of migration while OSes continue to run, we achieve impressive performance with minimal service downtimes; we demonstrate the migration of entire OS instances on a commodity cluster, recording service downtimes as low as 60ms. We show that that our performance is sufficient to make live migration a practical tool even for servers running interactive loads.

In this paper we consider the design options for migrating OSes running services with liveness constraints, focusing on data center and cluster environments. We introduce and analyze the concept of writable working set, and present the design, implementation and evaluation of high-performance OS migration built on top of the Xen VMM.

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Last changed: 9 June 2005 rc
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