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A Light-Weight Virtual Machine Monitor for Blue Gene/P

Jan Stoess, Udo Steinberg, Volkmar Uhlig, Jonathan Appavoo, Amos Waterland and Jens Kehne


International Workshop on Runtime and Operating Systems for Supercomputers (ROSS 2011), Tucson, AZ, USA, May 31, 2011

Date: 31.05.2011


In this paper, we present a light-weight, micro-kernel-based virtual machine monitor (VMM) for the Blue Gene/P Supercomputer. Our VMM comprises a small µ-kernel with virtualization capabilities and, atop, a user-level VMM component that manages virtual BG/P cores, memory, and interconnects; we also support running native applications directly atop the µ-kernel. Our design goal is to enable compatibility to standard OSes such as Linux on BG/P via virtualization, but to also keep the amount of kernel functionality small enough to facilitate shortening the path to applications and lowering OS noise.

Our prototype implementation successfully virtualizes a BG/P version of Linux with support for Ethernet-based communication mapped onto BG/P's collective and torus network devices. First experiences and experiments show that our VMM still shows a substantial performance hit; nevertheless, our approach poses an interesting OS alternative for Supercomputers, providing the convenience of a fully-featured commodity software stack, while also promising to deliver the scalability and low latency of an HPC OS.


  author = {Stoess, Jan and Appavoo, Jonathan and Steinberg, Udo and Waterland, Amos and Uhlig, Volkmar and Kehne, Jens},
  title = {A light-weight virtual machine monitor for Blue Gene/P},
  booktitle = {Proceedings of the 1st International Workshop on Runtime and Operating Systems for Supercomputers},
  series = {ROSS '11},
  year = {2011},
  isbn = {978-1-4503-0761-1},
  location = {Tucson, Arizona},
  pages = {3--10},
  numpages = {8},
  url = {http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1988796.1988798},
  doi = {http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1988796.1988798},
  acmid = {1988798},
  publisher = {ACM},
  address = {New York, NY, USA},