You know it's a good day when you get to use angry turtle in a presentation. Angry turtle is angry!
I was hurrying down the Newark airport terminal, wondering whether I was going to make the connecting flight to Seattle, en-route to Vancouver for the 9th USENIX Symposium on Operating Systems Design and Implementation. Suddenly, my cell phone rang. It was Michael Factor, a long-time co-worker and mentor. "Have you seen the email?" "No, I just landed in Newark and am on the way to catch a connection to Seattle. Which email?" "Here, let me read you the opening:
Your paper has been selected as one of two winners of the OSDI Jay Lepreau Best Paper award."
Receiving this award is a unique experience and a great honor. It is doubly sweet because of all the research projects I've worked on, the Turtles nested virtualization project is perhaps the one I am most proud of. When Orit, Ben, and I started working on it in 2008, we set out to do the impossible. Many colleagues claimed that efficient nested x86 virtualization on the Intel platform could not be done. Eventually, working long and hard, and with help from friends, we showed that not only could it be done, it even performs well. I've learned a lot in the process, about x86 virtualization, about leading a team, and about the art and craft doing research, but the most important lesson was to never lose hope, to always believe that eventually, it will work. And guess what? It did!
If you want to know how we did it, and what we learned in the process, check out The Turtles Project: Design and Implementation of Nested Virtualization.
In classical machine virtualization, a hypervisor runs multiple operating systems simultaneously, each on its own virtual machine. In nested virtualization a hypervisor can run multiple other hypervisors with their associated virtual machines. As operating systems gain hypervisor functionality---Microsoft Windows 7 already runs Windows XP in a virtual machine---nested virtualization will become necessary in hypervisors that wish to host them. We present the design, implementation, analysis, and evaluation of high-performance nested virtualization on Intel x86-based systems. The Turtles project, which is part of the Linux/KVM hypervisor, runs multiple unmodified hypervisors (e.g., KVM and VMware) and operating systems (e.g., Linux and Windows). Despite the lack of architectural support for nested virtualization in the x86 architecture, it can achieve performance that is within 6-8\% of single-level (non-nested) virtualization for common workloads, through multi-dimensional paging for MMU virtualization and multi-level device assignment for I/O virtualization.
The scientist gave a superior smile before replying, ``What is the tortoise standing on?'' ``You're very clever, young man, very clever'', said the old lady. ``But it's turtles all the way down!''
Happy one month birthday, Ze'ev
recent activity in a capsule
interesting call for papers
I have been remiss in updating this thing recently. In penance, I offer you these interesting call for papers from conferences that you should, without a doubt, submit your best papers to:
The 2nd Workshop on I/O Virtualization, which I will be co-chairing, will be co-located with ASPLOS 2010 and VEE 2010 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in March 2010. Once again we will be looking for ground-breaking and thought-provoking papers in I/O virtualization, although if your paper is only ground-breaking or only thought provoking, that's fine too.
The 24th International Conference on Supercomputing (ICS'10) will be held in Japan (Japan!) in June 2010. We are soliciting papers on all aspects of research, development, and application of high-performance experimental and commercial systems. This will be my first time on the ICS PC, and I am looking forward to the experience.
Last but certainly not least, SYSTOR 2010---The 3rd Annual Haifa Experimental Systems Conference, will be held once again in Haifa in May, 2010, and you should all come visit.
SYSTOR 2009 Call for Participation
CALL FOR PARTICIPATION SYSTOR 2009---The Israeli Experimental Systems Conference http://www.haifa.il.ibm.com/conferences/systor2009/ 4-6 May 2009 Haifa, Israel Registration deadline: May 2nd SYSTOR 2009, the Israeli Experimental Systems Conference, will be held at IBM Haifa Labs, in Haifa, Israel. The conference program will run over three days, combining the forefront of academic systems research with real-world systems developed in industry. The goal of the conference is to promote systems research and to foster stronger ties between the Israeli and worldwide systems research communities and industry. Conference proceedings will be published by ACM in the ACM Digital Library. There is a limited number of seats available on a first-come-first-served basis upon registration at http://www.haifa.ibm.com/conferences/systor2009/registration.shtml (registration is free of charge). Lunch and refreshments will be served on all three days courtesy of IBM Haifa Labs. The first day of the conference will feature sessions on distributed systems, concurrency, and power management. Marc Snir, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, will give a keynote talk, and in the afternoon a student poster session with sweet refreshments will be held. The second day will begin with the keynote "Towards Invisible Storage" by Alain Azagury, Director, XIV Business Executive, IBM, and an invited talk on "The Next Generation Data Center" by Michael Kagan, Mellanox CTO. After the morning talks, there will be paper sessions focusing on data de-duplication and storage issues. The day will end with an optional social event in Caesarea. The third day will conclude the conference with paper sessions on virtualization and system optimizations, and a panel of well-known systems researchers who will debate "What is Systems Research about and is it Relevant?" The full program for all three days is available on the conference website. We look forward to seeing you at SYSTOR 2009! SYSTOR Advisory Committee * Marc Auslander, IBM * Ken Birman, Cornell * Danny Dolev, HUJI * Julian Satran, IBM * Marc Snir, UIUC * Willy Zwaenepoel, EPFL Program Chairs * Michael Factor, IBM * Dror Feitelson, HUJI General Chair * Miriam Allalouf, IBM Publicity Chair * Muli Ben Yehuda, IBM Publication Chair * Gregory Chockler, IBM
I want to update this thing more often, but there's so much going on, the days filled with action and counter-action, that before I know it it's past midnight, and I have to wake up at 5 AM for a workout, and updating the blog is left on the TODO list for yet another day. Like, today.
I've been a manager for a month and change now, managing the virtualization and systems architecture group at the lab. It's an interesting challenge (which is why I agreed to do it), often frustrating, occasionally exhilarating. To my surprise, the part I like most is dealing with human beings in their myriad forms. To my non-surprise, the part I like least is the bureaucracy, but I figured I'd wait a couple more months before I start tilting at wind-mills. I still write code (well, debug code, mostly) and conduct research, but it's no longer the most important part of my day.
On the research front, we had two papers accepted to ICAC 2009 (one full paper and one short paper/poster), both in the general area of treating virtual machines as black boxes and inferring useful things about them---performance bottlenecks and boot-time--via statistical analysis of their inputs and outputs. Another paper, on the DMA mapping problem in direct assignment, was not accepted to USENIX ATC to my disappointment, and we are now revising it while looking for a new home.
I am continuing to work out twice a week with a private trainer who is seriously kicking my butt. It's rare when I don't finish a workout on the brink of exhaustion, drenched in sweat. I *love* it. Twice a week is no longer enough---I crave the endorphin rushes and sore muscles---so I've also re-started going for long walks, and hitting the punching bag in the back-yard like I really mean it. The kilograms are coming off, too, an added bonus.
Last but not least, SYSTOR 2009 is coming up next month, with a great program combining academic research and real-world systems. See y'all there!
It's 5:40 AM. I am is sitting in an empty room full of half-assembled furniture, waiting for the personal trainer to arrive and whip my ass into shape.
There will be a half-day workshop at the Technion's EE department on Thursday afternoon on "Technology Transfer - from Academy to Industry" which looks mildly interesting. I am on nominally on vacation this week and flying to Italy that night, but perhaps I'll go anyway. Anyone else planning to go?
New HTML Parser: The long-awaited libxml2 based HTML parser code is live. It needs further work but already handles most markup better than the original parser.
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If you're a C programmer with some spare time, take a look at the mod_virgule project page and help us with one of the tasks on the ToDo list!