Virtualisation is at the core of Cloud Computing and therefore its performance are crucial to be able to deliver a top-of-the-class service. Also, being able to provide the adequate virtualised environment based on the user requirements is key for cloud providers.

SmartOS, a descendant of Illumos and OpenSolaris, presents features such as containers and KVM virtualisation and network virtualisation through Crossbow that makes it particularly interesting in this context.

This research initiative aims to:

  • Evaluate performance of SmartOS virtualisation in respect to compute, i.e. containers and KVM, storage and networking
  • Compare SmartOS virtualisation with other techniques (Linux KVM, VMware, Xen)
  • Identify use cases and workloads that best suits the different techniques

Problem Statement

Cloud providers must be able to offer a single server to multiple users without them noticing that that they are the only user of that machine. This means that the underlying operating system must be able to provision and deprovision, i.e. create and destroy, virtual machines in a very fast seamless way; it should also allocate physical resources efficiently and fairly amongst the users and should be able to support multithreaded and multi-processor hardware. Lastly, the operating system must be highly reliable and, in case something doesn’t work as it should, it must provide a way to quickly determine what the cause is. at the same time, a customer of the cloud provider will also expect the server to be fast, meaning that the observed latency should be minimal. The provided server should also give the flexibility to get extra power when needed, i.e. bursting and scaling – and be secure, meaning that neighboring users must not interfere with each other.

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