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Shrinker: efficient live migration of virtual clusters over wide area networks


Correspondence to: Pierre Riteau, IRISA, Campus universitaire de Beaulieu, 35042 Rennes Cedex, France.



Live virtual machine migration is a powerful feature of virtualization technologies. It enables efficient load balancing, reduces energy consumption through dynamic consolidation, and makes infrastructure maintenance transparent to users. Although live migration is available across wide area networks with state of the art systems, it remains expensive to use because of the large amounts of data to transfer, especially when migrating virtual clusters rather than single virtual machine instances. As evidenced by previous research, virtual machines running identical or similar operating systems have significant portions of their memory and storage containing identical data. We propose Shrinker, a live virtual machine migration system leveraging this common data to improve live virtual cluster migration between data centers interconnected by wide area networks. Shrinker detects memory pages and disk blocks duplicated in a virtual cluster to avoid sending the same content multiple times over wide-area network links. Virtual machine data is retrieved in the destination site with distributed content-based addressing. We implemented a prototype of Shrinker in the KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine) hypervisor and present a performance evaluation in a distributed environment. Experiments show that it reduces both total data transferred and total migration time. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.