On the Performance of the Solaris Operating System under the Xen Security-enabled Hypervisor

University essay from Linköpings universitet/Institutionen för datavetenskap

Abstract: This thesis presents an evaluation of the Solaris version of the Xen virtual machine monitor and a comparison of its performance to the performance of Solaris Containers under similar conditions. Xen is a virtual machine monitor, based on the paravirtualization approach, which provides an instruction set different to the native machine environment and therefore requires modifications to the guest operating systems. Solaris Zones is an operating system-level virtualization technology that is part of the Solaris OS. Furthermore, we provide a basic performance evaluation of the security modules for Xen and Zones, known as sHype and Solaris Trusted Extensions, respectively. We evaluate the control domain (know as Domain-0) and the user domain performance as the number of user domains increases. Testing Domain-0 with an increasing number of user domains allows us to evaluate how much overhead virtual operating systems impose in the idle state and how their number influences the overall system performance. Testing one user domain and increasing the number of idle domains allows us to evaluate how the number of domains influences operating system performance. Testing concurrently loaded increasing numbers of user domains we investigate total system efficiency and load balancing dependent on the number of running systems. System performance was limited by CPU, memory, and hard drive characteristics. In the case of CPU-bound tests Xen exhibited performance close to the performance of Zones and to the native Solaris performance, loosing 2-3% due to the virtualization overhead. In case of memory-bound and hard drive-bound tests Xen showed 5 to 10 times worse performance.

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