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USENIX 2003 Annual Technical Conference, General Track — Abstract
Pp. 71-84 of the Proceedings

Operating System Support for Virtual Machines

Samuel T. King, George W. Dunlap, and Peter M. Chen, University of Michigan


A virtual-machine monitor (VMM) is a useful technique for adding functionality below existing operating system and application software. One class of VMMs (called Type II VMMs) builds on the abstractions provided by a host operating system. Type II VMMs are elegant and convenient, but their performance is currently an order of magnitude slower than that achieved when running outside a virtual machine (a standalone system). In this paper, we examine the reasons for this large overhead for Type II VMMs. We find that a few simple extensions to a host operating system can make it a much faster platform for running a VMM. Taking advantage of these extensions reduces virtualization overhead for a Type II VMM to 14-35% overhead, even for workloads that exercise the virtual machine intensively.
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Last changed: 7 Nov. 2003 jel
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