Adding Generic Process Containers to the Linux Kernel

While Linux provides copious monitoring and control options for individual processes, it has less support for applying the same operations efficiently to related groups of processes. This has led to multiple proposals for subtly different mechanisms for process aggregation for resource control and isolation. Even though some of these efforts could conceptually operate well together, merging each of them in their current states would lead to duplication in core kernel data structures/routines.

The Containers framework, based on the existing cpusets mechanism, provides the generic process grouping features required by the various different resource controllers and other process-affecting subsystems. The result is to reduce the code (and kernel impact) required for such subsystems, and provide a common interface with greater scope for co-operation.

This paper looks at the challenges in meeting the needs of all the stakeholders, which include low overhead, feature richness, completeness and flexible groupings. We demonstrate how to extend containers by writing resource control and monitoring components, we also look at how to implement namespaces and cpusets on top of the framework.

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