The Necessity for Hardware QoS Support for Server Consolidation and Cloud Computing



Abstract. Chip multiprocessors (CMPs) are ubiquitous in most of today’s computing fields. Although they provide noticeable benefits in terms of performance, cost and power efficiency, they also introduce some new issues. In this paper we analyze how the interference from Virtual Private Servers running in other cores is a significant component of performance unpredictability and can threaten the attainment of cloud computing. Even if virtualization is used, the sharing of the on-chip section of the memory hierarchy by different cores makes performance isolation strongly dependent on what is running elsewhere in the system. We will show in three actual computing systems, based on Sun UltraSparc T1, Sun UltraSparc T2 and Intel Xeon processors, how state-of-the-art virtualization techniques are unable to guarantee performance isolation in a representative workload such as SPECweb2005. In an especially conceived near worst-case scenario, it is possible to reduce the performance achieved by a Solaris Zones consolidated server for this suite of benchmarks in a Sun Fire T1000 and a Sun Enterprise T5120 by up to 80%. The performance drop observed by a Xen consolidated server running in a HP Proliant DL160 G5 is almost 45%. For all systems under study, off-chip bandwidth is shown to be the most critical resource.