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01.12.2016 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2016 Open Access

Journal of Cloud Computing 1/2016

Fine-grained multilayer virtualized systems analysis

Journal of Cloud Computing > Ausgabe 1/2016
Cédric Biancheri, Michel R. Dagenais


With the consolidation of computer services in large cloud-based data centers, almost all applications and even application development execute in virtualized systems (VS’s), sometimes nested. Whether it is inside a container, a virtual machine (VM) running on a physical host, or in a nested virtual machine, every process eventually runs on a physical CPU. Consequently, multiple virtualized systems might unknowingly compete with each other for physical resources. In this paper we study the interactions between all the VS’s running on a physical machine. We introduce an analysis based on kernel tracing that erases the bounds between VS’s and their host, to display a multilayer system as a single layer. As a result, it becomes possible to know exactly which process is currently running on a physical CPU, even if it is launched inside multiple layers of containers, themselves enclosed into two layers of VMs.
To use this analysis, we developed in Trace Compass a view that displays a time line for each host CPU, showing across time which process is running. Moreover, the full hierarchy of the VS’s is retrieved from the analysis and is displayed in the view. By using a system of dynamic and permanent filters, we added the possibility to highlight in this view either traced VMs, virtual CPUs, specific processes and containers. This last feature, combined with our view, allows to thoroughly apprehend the execution flow on the physical host, although it may involve multiple nested virtualized systems.
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