SplitX: Split Guest/Hypervisor Execution on Multi-Core

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Executive Summary

Current virtualization solutions often bear an unacceptable performance cost, limiting their use in many situations, and in particular when running I/O intensive workloads. The authors argue that this overhead is inherent in Popek and Goldberg's trap-and-emulate model for machine virtualization, and propose an alternative virtualization model for multi-core systems, where unmodified guests and hypervisors run on dedicated CPU cores. They propose hardware extensions to facilitate the realization of this Split eXecution (SplitX) model and provide a limited approximation on current hardware. They demonstrate the feasibility and potential of a SplitX hypervisor running I/O intensive workloads with zero overhead.

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