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[Xen-devel] Re: [Xen-users] Announcing the first release of SnowFlock

To: Javier Guerra <javier@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: [Xen-devel] Re: [Xen-users] Announcing the first release of SnowFlock
From: Andrés Lagar Cavilla <andreslc@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 13 Sep 2008 19:37:12 -0400
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The more technical details of memory on demand etc can be found in our technical report: http://www.cs.toronto.edu/pub/reports/csrg/578/csrg-578-snowflock-LagarCavilla2008.pdf
Thanks for your interest!
Javier Guerra wrote:
On Fri, Sep 12, 2008 at 3:09 PM, Andres Lagar-Cavilla
<andreslc@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
More technically:
Snowflock is our prototype implementation of the / Impromptu Cluster (IC)/
abstraction. In an IC, an application encapsulated inside a virtual machine
(VM) is swiftly forked into multiple copies that execute on different
physical hosts, and then disappear when the computation ends. ICs simplify
the development of parallel applications and reduces management burden by
enabling the instantiation of new stateful computing elements: workers that
need no setup time because they have a memory of the application state
achieved up to the point of forking. This approach combines the benefits of
cluster-based parallelism with those of running inside a VM.

Snowflock provides swift parallel VM cloning that makes it possible for
Internet applications to deliver near-interactive performance for
resource-intensive highly-parallelizable tasks. Snowflock makes use of four
key techniques: /VM descriptors/ (condensed VM images that allow for
sub-second suspension of a running VM and resumption of a of replicas); a
/memory-on-demand/ subsystem that lazily populates the VM's memory image
during runtime; a set of / avoidance heuristics/ that minimize the amount of
VM memory state to be fetched on demand; and a /multicast distribution/
system for commodity Ethernet networking hardware that makes the overhead of
instantiating multiple VMs similar to that of instantiating a single one.

just reading the docs.... i find it nice how you can drive the
duplication of VMs from within the VM.  great for grids.

could you elaborate about the memory-on-demand? i couldn't find
anything about it on the manual, and it seems like a major advantage.

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