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This slides were presented at the 24th International Symposium on High-Performance Parallel and Distributed Computing (HPDC '15)
Performance isolation is emerging as a requirement for High Performance Computing (HPC) applications, particularly as HPC architectures turn to in situ data processing and application composition techniques to increase system throughput. These approaches require the co-location of disparate workloads on the same compute node, each with different resource and runtime requirements. In this paper we claim that these workloads cannot be effectively managed by a single Operating System/Runtime (OS/R). Therefore, we present Pisces, a system software architecture that enables the co-existence of multiple independent and fully isolated OS/Rs, or enclaves, that can be customized to address the disparate requirements of next generation HPC workloads. Each enclave consists of a specialized lightweight OS co-kernel and runtime, which is capable of independently managing partitions of dynamically assigned hardware resources. Contrary to other co-kernel approaches, in this work we consider performance isolation to be a primary requirement and present a novel co-kernel architecture to achieve this goal. We further present a set of design requirements necessary to ensure performance isolation, including: (1) elimination of cross OS dependencies, (2) internalized management of I/O, (3) limiting cross enclave communication to explicit shared memory channels, and (4) using virtualization techniques to provide missing OS features. The implementation of the Pisces co-kernel architecture is based on the Kitten Lightweight Kernel and Palacios Virtual Machine Monitor, two system software architectures designed specifically for HPC systems. Finally we will show that lightweight isolated co-kernels can provide better performance for HPC applications, and that isolated virtual machines are even capable of outperforming native environments in the presence of competing workloads.