Efficient Packet Processing in User-Level Operating Systems: A Study of UML

Younggyun Koh 1 Calton Pu 1 Sapan Bhatia 2 Charles Consel 2, 3
2 PHOENIX - Programming Language Technology For Communication Services
INRIA Futurs, Université Sciences et Technologies - Bordeaux 1, École Nationale Supérieure d'Électronique, Informatique et Radiocommunications de Bordeaux (ENSEIRB)
Abstract : Network server consolidation has become popular through recent virtualization technology that builds secure, isolated network systems on shared hardware. One of the virtualization techniques used is that of User-level Operating Systems. (ULOSes) However, the isolation and security they bring comes at the price of performance, as virtualization introduces a number of overheads into the system. Such overheads can be surprisingly large, especially for complex OS modules like network protocol stacks. Our studies of the TCP/IP stack in User-mode Linux (UML), an implementation of a ULOS, attribute the resulting slow-downs to three main sources: the execution of privileged code, memory management across layers, and additional instructions to execute. To mitigate these bottlenecks, we present five optimization techniques, improving the network performance significantly, reducing packet processing latency by 60% and increasing network throughput by three folds. Furthermore, the network throughput of the improved ULOS is comparable to that of native Linux up to gigabit speeds.
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Younggyun Koh, Calton Pu, Sapan Bhatia, Charles Consel. Efficient Packet Processing in User-Level Operating Systems: A Study of UML. 31st IEEE Conference on Local Computer Networks, Nov 2006, Tampa, United States. ⟨inria-00353590⟩

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