Scalability of VM provisioning systems

Mike Jones, Bill Arcand, Bill Bergeron, David Bestor, Chansup Byun, Lauren Milechin, Vijay Gadepally, Matt Hubbell, Jeremy Kepner, Pete Michaleas, Julie Mullen, Andy Prout, Tony Rosa, Siddharth Samsi, Charles Yee, Albert Reuther

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Virtual machines and virtualized hardware have been around for over half a century. The commoditization of the x86 platform and its rapidly growing hardware capabilities have led to recent exponential growth in the use of virtualization both in the enterprise and high performance computing (HPC). The startup time of a virtualized environment is a key performance metric for high performance computing in which the runtime of any individual task is typically much shorter than the lifetime of a virtualized service in an enterprise context. In this paper, a methodology for accurately measuring the startup performance on an HPC system is described. The startup performance overhead of three of the most mature, widely deployed cloud management frameworks (OpenStack, OpenNebula, and Eucalyptus) is measured to determine their suitability for workloads typically seen in an HPC environment. A 10x performance difference is observed between the fastest (Eucalyptus) and the slowest (OpenNebula) framework. This time difference is primarily due to delays in waiting on networking in the cloud-init portion of the startup. The methodology and measurements presented should facilitate the optimization of startup across a variety of virtualization environments.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2016 IEEE High Performance Extreme Computing Conference, HPEC 2016
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9781509035250
StatePublished - Nov 28 2016
Externally publishedYes
Event2016 IEEE High Performance Extreme Computing Conference, HPEC 2016 - Waltham, United States
Duration: Sep 13 2016Sep 15 2016

Publication series

Name2016 IEEE High Performance Extreme Computing Conference, HPEC 2016


Conference2016 IEEE High Performance Extreme Computing Conference, HPEC 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • cloud computing
  • high performance computing
  • scalability
  • virtual machines


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