Analyzing PAPI Performance on Virtual Machines

TitleAnalyzing PAPI Performance on Virtual Machines
Publication TypeTech Report
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsNelson, J.
Technical Report Series TitleICL Technical Report
Date Published2013-08

Over the last ten years, virtualization techniques have become much more widely popular as a result of fast and cheap processors. Virtualization provides many benefits making it appealing for testing environments. Encapsulating configurations is a huge motivator for wanting to do performance testing on virtual machines. Provisioning, a technique that is used by FutureGrid, is also simplified using virtual machines. Virtual machines enable portability among heterogeneous systems while providing an identical configuration within the guest operating system.

My work in ICL has focused on using PAPI inside of virtual machines. There were two main areas of focus throughout my research. The first originated because of anomalous results of the HPC Challenge Benchmark reported in a paper submitted by ICL [3] in which the order of input sizes tested impacted run time on virtual machines but not on bare metal. A discussion of this anomaly will be given in section II along with a discussion of timers used in virtual machines. The second area of focus was exploring the recently implemented support by KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine) and VMware for guest OS level performance counters. A discussion of application tests run to observe the behavior of event counts measured in a virtual machine as well as a discussion of information learned pertinent to event measurement will be given in section III.

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