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Fast Memory State Synchronization for Virtualization-Based Fault Tolerance

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Executive Summary

Virtualization provides the possibility of whole machine migration and thus enables a new form of fault tolerance that is completely transparent to applications and operating systems. While initial prototypes show promise virtualization-based fault-tolerant architecture still experiences substantial performance overhead especially for data-intensive workloads. The main performance challenge of virtualization-based fault tolerance is how to synchronize the memory states of the Master and Slave in a way that minimizes the end-to-end impact on the application performance. This paper describes three optimization techniques for memory state synchronization: fine-grained dirty region identification, speculative state transfer, and synchronization traffic reduction using active slave, and presents a comprehensive performance study of these techniques under three realistic workloads, the TPC-E benchmark, the SPECsfs 2008 CIFS benchmark, and a Microsoft Exchange workload.

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