Single System Image in a Linux-based Replicated Operating System Kernel
Ravichandran, Akshay Giridhar
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Recent trends in the computer market suggest that emerging computing platforms will be increasingly parallel and heterogeneous, in order to satisfy the user demand for improved performance and superior energy savings. Heterogeneity is a promising technology to keep growing the number of cores per chip without breaking the power wall. However, existing system software is able to cope with homogeneous architectures, but it was not designed to run on heterogeneous architectures, therefore, new system software designs are necessary. One innovative design is the multikernel OS deployed by the Barrelfish operating system (OS) which partitions hardware resources to independent kernel instances that communicate exclusively by message passing, without exploiting the shared memory available amongst different CPUs in a multicore platform. Popcorn Linux implements an extension of the multikernel OS design, called replicated-kernel OS, with the goal of providing a Linux-based single system image environment on top of multiple kernels, which can eventually run on different ISA processors. A replicated-kernel OS replicates the state of various OS sub-systems amongst kernels that cooperate using message passing to distribute or access various services uniquely available on each kernel. In this thesis, we present mechanisms to distribute signals, namespaces, inter-thread synchronizations and socket state replication. These features are built on top of the existing messaging layer, process or thread migration and address space consistency protocol to provide the application with an illusion of single system image and developers with the SMP programming environment they are most familiar with. The mechanisms developed were unit tested with micro benchmarks to validate their correctness and to measure the gained speed up or additive overhead. Real-world applications were also used to benchmark the developed mechanisms on homogeneous and on heterogeneous architectures. It is found that the contributed Popcorn synchronization mechanism exhibits overhead compared to vanilla Linux on multicore as Linux's equivalent mechanisms are tightly coupled with underlying hardware cache coherency protocol, therefore, faster than software message passing. On heterogeneous platforms, the developed mechanisms allow to transparently map each portion of the application to the processor in the platform on which the execution is faster. Optimizations are recommended to further improve the performance of the proposed synchronization mechanism. However, optimizations may force the userspace application and libraries to be rewritten in order to decouple their synchronization mechanisms of shared memory, therefore losing transparency, which is one of the primary goals of this work.
- Masters Theses