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A Study of Scalability and Performance of Solaris Zones
Linköping University, Department of Computer and Information Science.
2007 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (professional degree), 20 points / 30 hpStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This thesis presents a quantitative evaluation of an operating system virtualization technology known as Solaris Containers or Solaris Zones, with a special emphasis on measuring the influence of a security technology known as Solaris Trusted Extensions. Solaris Zones is an operating system-level (OS-level) virtualization technology embedded in the Solaris OS that primarily provides containment of processes within the abstraction of a complete operating system environment. Solaris Trusted Extensions presents a specific configuration of the Solaris operating system that is designed to offer multi-level security functionality.

Firstly, we examine the scalability of the OS with respect to an increasing number of zones. Secondly, we evaluate the performance of zones in three scenarios. In the first scenario we measure - as a baseline - the performance of Solaris Zones on a 2-CPU core machine in the standard configuration that is distributed as part of the Solaris OS. In the second scenario we investigate the influence of the number of CPU cores. In the third scenario we evaluate the performance in the presence of a security configuration known as Solaris Trusted Extensions. To evaluate performance, we calculate a number of metrics using the AIM benchmark. We calculate these benchmarks for the global zone, a non-global zone, and increasing numbers of concurrently running non-global zones. We aggregate the results of the latter to compare aggregate system performance against single zone performance.

The results of this study demonstrate the scalability and performance impact of Solaris Zones in the Solaris OS. On our chosen hardware platform, Solaris Zones scales to about 110 zones within a short creation time (i.e., less than 13 minutes per zone for installation, configuration, and boot.) As the number of zones increases, the measured overhead of virtualization shows less than 2% of performance decrease for most measured benchmarks, with one exception: the benchmarks for memory and process management show that performance decreases of 5-12% (depending on the sub-benchmark) are typical. When evaluating the Trusted Extensions-based security configuration, additional small performance penalties were measured in the areas of Disk/Filesystem I/O and Inter Process Communication. Most benchmarks show that aggregate system performance is higher when distributing system load across multiple zones compared to running the same load in a single zone.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Institutionen för datavetenskap , 2007. , 110 p.
Keyword [en]
Solaris Zones, Solaris Operating System, Solaris Trusted Extensions, scalability evaluation, performance evaluation, security metrics, AIM benchmark
National Category
Computer Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-8549ISRN: LITH-IDA-EX--07/010--SEOAI: diva2:23318
2007-03-12, al-Khwarizmi, B, Linköping University, Linköping, 10:15
Available from: 2007-04-11 Created: 2007-04-11

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