Quest-V, a Partitioning Hypervisor for Latency-Sensitive Workloads

Quest-V is a separation kernel that partitions services of different criticality levels across separate virtual machines, or sandboxes. Each sandbox encapsulates a subset of machine physical resources that it manages without requiring intervention from a hypervisor. In Quest-V, a hypervisor is only needed to bootstrap the system, recover from certain faults, and establish communication channels between sandboxes. The machine physical resources that are given to each sandbox include one or more processing cores, a region of machine physical memory, and a subset of I/O devices. Current Quest-V research is exploring how to manage hardware resources to allow for a power and latency aware system. The partitioning of virtual machines (VMs) onto separate machine resources offers an opportunity for per-sandbox power management. Thus, in idle periods, a sandbox may place its hardware into a suspend state, reducing the power utilization of the sandbox. Depending on the latency and power demands of the sandbox, the sandboxes can be suspended to RAM or to disk. The sandbox can then resume normal power consumption when appropriate. Sandboxes also have the ability to be migrated across hosts to balance system resources and reduce power consumption. This allows for entire machines to be placed into low power states upon the migration of all sandboxes away from those machines. Quest-V is unlike a normal hypervisor in that it allows VMs to suspend and resume individual hardware resources without interfering with the operation of other VMs on the same physical platform. This allows for the creation of systems that are both power and latency aware.

For more information, please refer to the article by Craig Einstein in Red Hat Research Quarterly magazine Volume 1, Issue 3, available here.


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