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Virtualization is a key technology underlying cloud computing platforms, where applications encapsulated within virtual machines are dynamically mapped onto a pool of physical servers. In this paper, the authors argue that cloud providers can significantly lower operational costs, and improve hosted application performance, by accounting for affinities and conflicts between co-placed virtual machines. They show how these affinities can be inferred using location-independent VM characterizations called virtual footprints, and then show how these virtual footprints can be used to reshape the physical footprint of a VM - its physical resource consumption - to achieve higher VM consolidation and application performance in a cloud environment.
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