Live migration of virtual machines
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Live Migration of Virtual Machines. Christopher Clark, Keir Fraser, Steven Hand, Jacob Gorm Hansen†,Eric Jul†, Christian Limpach , Ian Pratt, Andrew Warfield University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory † Department of Computer Science ,University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

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Live Migration of Virtual Machines

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Live Migration of Virtual Machines

Christopher Clark, Keir Fraser, Steven Hand, Jacob GormHansen†,Eric Jul†, Christian Limpach, Ian Pratt, Andrew Warfield

University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory

† Department of Computer Science ,University of Copenhagen, Denmark



  • Operating system virtualization has attracted considerable interest in recent years

    -In data Centers, cluster computing communities

  • allows many OS instances to run concurrently on a single physical machine

  • Migratingan entire OS and all of its applications as one unit

    • Compared to the process migration (residual dependencies)


  • Live Migration

  • Without interfering the network connection

  • Allows a separation of concerns between the users and operator of a datacenter or cluster.

  • Allowing separation of hardware and software considerations


  • Downtime

    • services are entirely unavailable

  • Total migration time

    • during which state on both machines is synchronized and which hence may affect reliability

  • This paper use the “pre-copy” approach to achieve live migration and target on decreasing the downtime (implemented on Xen)

  • Design

    • Network

      Generate an ARP reply from the migrated host, advertising that the IP has moved to a new location.

    • Storage

      Use a network-attached storage (NAS) device

      Do not need to migrate disk storage


    • Memory Transfer

      • Push phase

      • Stop-and-copy phase

      • Pull phase

    • most practical solutions select one or two of the three phases

      • pure stop-and-copy, pure demand

    • This paper uses iterative push phase with a typically very short stop-and-copy phase.

    Related Work

    • Shutdown the VM

    • Pre-Copy

    • VMware

    Related Work

    • Post-Copy Live Migration of Virtual Machines

    • Michael R. Hines, Umesh Deshpande, and Kartik Gopalan

      Computer Science, Binghamton University (SUNY)


    Design Overview

    WritableWorking Sets

    • Some pages will seldom or never be modified and hence are good candidates for pre-copy

    • Some will be written often and so should best be transferred via stop-and-copy

      => WritableWorkingSets

    WritableWorking Sets

    WritableWorking Sets

    Dynamic Rate-Limiting

    • Dynamically adapt the bandwidth limit during each pre-copying round

    • The administrator selects a minimum(m) and a maximum(M) bandwidth limit

    • The first pre-copy round transfers pages at the minimum bandwidth m

    Dynamic Rate-Limiting

    • Dirtying rate =

      (the number of pages dirtied in the previous round)

      / (duration of the previous round)

    • Bandwidth rate for next round =

      Dirtying rate + 50 Mbits/sec

    • Stop pre-copy when

      • Calculated rate > M

      • Less than 256KB remains to be tranferred

    Some implementation issues

    • Rapid Page Dirtying

      • Do not need to always transfer hot pages

    • Freeing Page Cache Pages

      • In the first round

    • Stunning Rogue Processes

      • Limit each process to 40 write faults each time

    Stunning Rogue Processes


    • Dell PE-2650 server-class machines

    • dual Xeon 2GHz CPUs

    • 2GB memory

    • connected via Gigabit Ethernet

    • Storage: iSCSIprotocol NAS

    • XenLinux 2.4.27

    a. SimpleWebServer

    • Apache 1.3 web server

    • Continuously serving a single 512KB file

    • memory allocation: 800MB

    • Initially rate limited to 100Mbit/sec

    • 776MB memory to be transferred in the first round

    • 165ms outage

    a. SimpleWeb Server


    • memory allocation: 800MB

    • 30% require dynamic content generation

    • 16% are HTTP POST operations

    • 0.5% execute a CGI script

    • The server generates access and POST logs

    • 210ms outage


    c. Low-Latency Server: Quake 3

    • a multiplayer on-line game server

    • a virtual machine with 64MB of memory

    • Six players joined the game and started to play within a shared arena

    • transfers so little data (148KB) in the last round

    • Downtime: 60ms

    c. Low-Latency Server: Quake 3

    d. A DiabolicalWorkload: MMuncher

    • a virtual machine is writing to memory faster than can be transferred

    • Memory: 512MB

    • a simple C program that writes constantly to a 256MB

    • Downtime: 3.5 seconds

    d. A DiabolicalWorkload: MMuncher


    • A pre-copy live migration method on Xen

    • Concern about WWS

    • Dynamic network-bandwidth adaption

    • realistic server workloads such as SPECweb99 can be migrated with just 210ms downtime

    • a Quake3 game server is migrated with an imperceptible 60ms outage

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