Fido: fast inter-virtual-machine communication for enterprise appliances
Proceedings of the 2009 conference on USENIX Annual technical conference (USENIX ATC) 2009.
Enterprise-class server appliances such as network-attached storage systems or network routers can benefit greatly from virtualization technologies. However, current inter-VM communication techniques have significant performance overheads when employed between highly-collaborative appliance components, thereby limiting the use of virtualization in such systems. We present Fido, an inter-VM communication mechanism that leverages the inherent relaxed trust model between the software components in an appliance to achieve high performance. We have also developed common device abstractions - a network device (MMNet) and a block device (MMBlk) on top of Fido.
We evaluate MMNet and MMBlk using microbenchmarks and find that they outperform existing alternative mechanisms. As a case study, we have implemented a virtualized architecture for a network-attached storage system incorporating Fido, MMNet, and MMBlk. We use both microbenchmarks and TPC-C to evaluate our virtualized storage system architecture. In comparison to a monolithic architecture, the virtualized one exhibits nearly no performance penalty in our benchmarks, thus demonstrating the viability of virtualized enterprise server architectures that use Fido.