Better than Native: Using Virtualization to Improve Compute Node Performance
Modified variants of Linux are likely to be the underlying operating systems for future exascale platforms. Despite the many advantages of this approach, a subset of applications exist in which a LightWeight Kernel (LWK) based OS is needed and/or preferred. The authors contend that virtualization is capable of supporting LWKs as Virtual Machines (VMs) running at scale on top of a Linux environment. Furthermore, they claim that a properly designed Virtual Machine Monitor (VMM) can provide an isolated and independent environment that avoids the overheads of the Linux host OS. To validate the feasibility of this approach they demonstrate that given a Linux host OS, benchmarks running in a virtualized LWK environment are capable of outperforming the same benchmarks executed directly on the Linux host.