Zeroing memory deallocator to reduce checkpoint sizes in virtualized HPC environments
journal contributionposted on 28.09.2018, 15:24 by Ramy Gad, Simon Pickartz, Tim Suss, Lars Nagel, Stefan Lankes, Antonello Monti, Andre Brinkmann
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Virtualization has become an indispensable tool in data centers and cloud environments to flexibly assign virtual machines (VMs) to resources. Virtualization also becomes more and more attractive for high-performance computing (HPC). This is mainly due to the strong isolation of VMs which enables: (1) the sharing of cluster nodes and optimization of the system’s overall utilization; (2) load balancing by means of migrations due to the reduction of residual dependencies; and (3) the creation of system-level checkpoints increasing the fault tolerance in an application-transparent way. On the downside, the additional virtualization layer conceals information that is only available on the process level. This information has a direct influence on the checkpoint size which should be kept as small as possible. In this paper, we propose a novel technique for checkpoint size reduction in virtualized environments. We exploit the fact that the hypervisor detects zero pages which are omitted when capturing a checkpoint. Moreover, compression techniques are applied for a further reduction of the checkpoint size. We therefore fill freed memory regions with zeros supporting both the zero-page detection and the compression. We evaluate our approach by taking the example of HPC applications. The results reveal a reduction of the checkpoint size by up to 9% when compression is disabled in the hypervisor and up to 49% with compression enabled. Furthermore, memory zeroing is able to reduce VM migration time by up to 10% when compression is disabled and by up to 60% when compression is enabled.
This research and development was supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) under Grant 01IH13004 (Project FAST) and Grant 01IH16010B (Project Envelope).
- Computer Science