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In this work, the authors investigate the efficacy of using paravirtualizing software for performance-critical HPC kernels and applications. They present a comprehensive performance evaluation of Xen, a low-overhead, Linux-based, virtual machine monitor, for paravirtualization of HPC cluster systems at LLNL. They investigate subsystem and overall performance using a wide range of benchmarks and applications. They employ statistically sound methods to compare the performance of a paravirtualized kernel against three Linux operating systems: RedHat Enterprise 4 for build versions 2.6.9 and 2.6.12 and the LLNL CHAOS kernel. The results indicate that Xen is very efficient and practical for HPC systems.
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