Evaluating the Performance Impact of Xen on MPI and Process Execution for HPC Systems

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Virtualization has become increasingly popular for enabling full system isolation, load balancing, and hardware multiplexing for high-end server systems. Virtualizing software has the potential to benefit HPC systems similarly by facilitating efficient cluster management, application isolation, full-system customization, and process migration. However, virtualizing software is not currently employed in HPC environments due to its perceived overhead. In this work, the authors investigate the overhead imposed by the popular, open-source, Xen virtualization system, on performance-critical HPC kernels and applications.