IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems

IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems (TPDS) is a scholarly archival journal published monthly. Parallelism and distributed computing are foundational research and technology to rapidly advance computer systems and their applications. Read the full scope of TPDS

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From the July 2017 Issue

Sharing-Aware Online Virtual Machine Packing in Heterogeneous Resource Clouds

By Safraz Rampersaud and Daniel Grosu

Free Featured ArticleOne of the key problems that cloud providers need to efficiently solve when offering on-demand virtual machine (VM) instances to a large number of users is the VM Packing problem, a variant of Bin Packing. The VM Packing problem requires determining the assignment of user requested VM instances to physical servers such that the number of physical servers is minimized. In this paper, we consider a more general variant of the VM Packing problem, called the Sharing-Aware VM Packing problem, that has the same objective as the standard VM Packing problem, but allows the VM instances collocated on the same physical server to share memory pages, thus reducing the amount of cloud resources required to satisfy the users’ demand. Our main contributions consist of designing several online algorithms for solving the Sharing-Aware VM Packing problem, and performing an extensive set of experiments to compare their performance against that of several existing sharing-oblivious online algorithms. For small problem instances, we also compare the performance of the proposed online algorithms against the optimal solution obtained by solving the offline variant of the Sharing-Aware VM Packing problem (i.e., the version of the problem that assumes that the set of VM requests are known a priori). The experimental results show that our proposed sharing-aware online algorithms activate a smaller average number of physical servers relative to the sharing-oblivious algorithms, directly reduce the amount of required memory, and thus, require fewer physical servers to instantiate the VM instances requested by users.

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