Isolate First, Then Share: a New OS Architecture for Datacenter Computing

by   Gang Lu, et al.
Institute of Computing Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences

This paper presents the "isolate first, then share" OS model in which the processor cores, memory, and devices are divided up between disparate OS instances and a new abstraction, subOS, is proposed to encapsulate an OS instance that can be created, destroyed, and resized on-the-fly. The intuition is that this avoids shared kernel states between applications, which in turn reduces performance loss caused by contention. We decompose the OS into the supervisor and several subOSes running at the same privilege level: a subOS directly manages physical resources, while the supervisor can create, destroy, resize a subOS on-the-fly. The supervisor and subOSes have few state sharing, but fast inter-subOS communication mechanisms are provided on demand. We present the first implementation, RainForest, which supports unmodified Linux binaries. Our comprehensive evaluation shows RainForest outperforms Linux with four different kernels, LXC, and Xen in terms of worst-case and average performance most of time when running a large number of benchmarks. The source code is available soon.


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