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Kitchen Sink System Software, or Why Xen, like Linux, doesn't solve HEC OS problems

November 10, 2005

  • Date: Thursday, November 10, 2005 
  • Time: 11:00-12:15pm. 
  • Place: Woodward 149

Prof. Patrick Bridges Department of Computer Science, University of New Mexico

Many high-end computing (HEC) systems have relied on commodity operating system solutions like Linux to provide basic system software services. Unfortunately, there are well-known problems with commodity system software in specialized environments, particularly from underlying assumptions that aren’t necessarily appropriate and the creeping featuritis induced by their general-purpose nature. Xen, a “small” virtualization layer for modern architectures has been put forth as a potential boon in specialized environments like HEC. In my talk, I will describe why Xen is beginning to suffer from the same problems that have plagued Linux in specialized environments, what I believe this means to HEC OS researchers, and discuss the limitations, uses, possible improvements to Xen for dealing with specialized environments like HEC systems.