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Performance aspects of x86 virtualization

Created on: Feb 28, 2008 12:00 AM by VMworld Team - Last Modified:  Aug 24, 2009 3:02 AM by VMworld Team

Session Details

Session ID:


Session Title:

Performance aspects of x86 virtualization

Session Abstract:

The uniformity of the x86 virtualization landscape of 5 years ago when all CPUs were 32 bit and binary translation (BT) was the only implementation technology, made it relatively easy to understand performance of virtualized workloads. This uniformity has now vanished. Today, CPUs support both 32 and 64 bit modes. Some VMMs virtualize just 32 bit mode while others virtualize both modes. Moreover, some CPUs have hardware support for virtualization, which may or may not be used by a particular VMM when running a particular guest. This complexity renders 'black box' performance analysis infeasible. To really understand performance, one must look inside the VMM. This talk compares x86 instruction set virtualization in software (BT) with 1st generation hardware support (Intel-VT, AMD-V). Then it compares memory virtualization in software (shadow pages tables) with 2nd generation hardware support (AMD NPT, Intel EPT). This talk helps the audience analyze performance results from a variety of workloads and hardware, and helps programmers write performant code for virtual environments.


Application Workloads and System Performance

Session Type:

Technical Deep-dive Session


Virtualization Platform / Hypervisor


60 minutes


Ole Agesen, VMware

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