MemFlex: A Shared Memory Swapper for High Performance VM Execution

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Ballooning is a popular solution for dynamic memory balancing. However, existing solutions may perform poorly in the presence of heavy guest swapping. Furthermore, when the host has sufficient free memory, guest virtual machines (VMs) under memory pressure is not be able to use it in a timely fashion. Even after the guest VM has been recharged with sufficient memory via ballooning, the applications running on the VM are unable to utilize the free memory in guest VM to quickly recover from the severe performance degradation. To address these problems, we present MemFlex , a shared memory swapper for improving guest swapping performance in virtualized environment with three novel features: (1) MemFlex effectively utilizes host idle memory by redirecting the VM swapping traffic to the host-guest shared memory area. (2) MemFlex provides a hybrid memory swapping model, which treats a fast but small shared memory swap partition as the primary swap area whenever it is possible, and smoothly transits to the conventional disk-based VM swapping on demand. (3) Upon ballooned with sufficient VM memory, MemFlex provides a fast swap-in optimization, which enables the VM to proactively swap in the pages from the shared memory using an efficient batch implementation. Instead of relying on costly page faults, this optimization offers just-in-Time performance recovery by enabling the memory intensive applications to quickly regain their runtime momentum. Performance evaluation results are presented to demonstrate the effectiveness of MemFlex when compared with existing swapping approaches.


01 Sep 2017