Virtualization Polling Engine (VPE): Using Dedicated CPU Cores to Accelerate I/O Virtualization

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Executive Summary

Virtual Machine (VM) technologies are making rapid progress and VM performance is approaching that of native hardware in many aspects. Achieving high performance for I/O virtualization remains a challenge, however, especially for high speed networking devices such as 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10 GbE) NICs. Traditional software-based approaches to I/O virtualization usually suffer significant performance degradation compared with native hardware. Hardware-based approaches that allow direct device access in VMs can achieve good performance, albeit at the expense of increased hardware cost and increased complexity in achieving tasks such as VM checkpointing, migration, and record/reply.

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