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July 13th-16th, 2010
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Page/slab cache control in a virtualized environment

Balbir Singh (

The Linux page/slab cache subsystems are one of the most useful subsystems in the Linux kernel. Any attempts to limit its usage have been discouraged and frowned upon in the past. However, virtualization is changing the role of the kernel running on the system, specifically when the kernel is running as a guest. Assumptions about using all available memory as cache and optimizations will need need to be relooked in an environment where resources are not fully owned by one guest OS.

In this paper, we discuss some of the pain points of page cache in a virtualized environment; like double caching of data in both the host and guest and its impact on memory utilization. We look at the current page cache behavior of Linux running as a guest and when multiple instances of guest operating systems are running. We look at current practices and propose new solutions to the solving the double caching problem in the kernel.

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