Collaborative Memory Management in Hosted Linux Environments

In hosted environments, multiple guest operating systems are hosted on top of a host operating system or hypervisor. The problem of overcommitting physical memory is either solved by dynamically adjusting the memory sizes of the guests or through transparent host paging. Both approaches can introduce significant overhead in heavily overcommitted memory scenarios due to frequent resize requests or due to high paging I/O activity. This paper introduces a novel approach to this problem, called collaborative memory management (CMM). In CMM, guests and host operating system exchange page usage and residency information. This information is primarily used by the host to reduce the amount of paging it needs to do for the pages of its guests. The CMM design and the Linux implementation and a prototype for Linux for zSeries and the z/VM hypervisor will be discussed.

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