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Extreme High Performance Computing or Why Microkernels suck

Christoph H. Lameter (christoph@lameter.com)

Linux does not scale because it is a monolithic operating system kernel? Microkernels have never scaled well and Linux has been scaled up to support thousands of processors, terabytes of memory and hundreds of petabytes of disk storage. Some of the techniques used to scale were per cpu areas, per node structures, lock splitting, cache line optimizations, memory allocation control, scheduler optimizations and so on. These required detail work on the code but no change to the architecture of Linux.

The presentation will give an overview of why Linux scales and shows the hurdles a microkernels would have to overcome. The presentation will assume a basic understanding of how operating systems work and familiarity with what functions a kernel performs.