Li Sheng. Nowadays, with the booming development of network-based computing, more and more

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1 Li Sheng Virtual Machine Technology for Cloud Computing Li Sheng Abstract: Nowadays, with the booming development of network-based computing, more and more Internet service vendors such as Google and Amazon put more emphasis on cloud computing. As one of the most important technology using for cloud computing, virtual machine plays a key role in the realization of cloud computing. This paper presents the fundamental cloud computing service model together with showing in which level virtualization technology should be applied. Then some of the application instances as well as some new conception of cloud computing based virtual machine technology are introduced. Keywords: Cloud Computing, Virtual Machine, Virtualization Technology

2 1. Introduction Cloud computing is the delivery of utility computing as a service. Rather than a product installed on one specific device, it provides computation, data access, and storage services without the requirement of end-users awareness of the configuration of system which provides the services as well as the indeed physical location. Resources and information are offered by cloud computing as a utility to computers or other digital devices through Internet (or other kinds of network). Cloud computing is revolutionizing how Information Technology resources and services are used and managed. As it makes the software more appealing to migrate from local personal computers to distant network-base servers as a vendor provided service, cloud computing has the most attractive potential to shift in the geography of computation and transform a large part of the Information Technology industry such as the Internet services, the software development and the way hardware is designed and purchased [1]. In the view of fact that the server system which provides cloud computing service is totally isolated from the end-users, virtualization is an important enabling technology and has already been widely adopted into the cloud computing environments. Virtualization provides many benefits, including ease of management, security, performance isolation, flexibility of running in a user-customized environment and helps end-users make more efficient use of hardware resources. Many computers pretend to be the one computing environment. In practice, the computers making up the cloud system will also be virtualized in order to

3 maximize the resources of the physical computers. As one of the main tasks in virtualization, a virtual machine (VM) is the software implementation of a machine (typically a computer) that executes programs like a physical machine. One of the major advantages of cloud computing is the ability to use a variable number of physical machines and VM instances depending on the demand of the problem. It means sharing the resources of a single physical computer among several different virtual computing environments. A cloud is built up of numerous physical machines (the hardware). Each of these machines then runs multiple virtual machines, which is what are presented to the end-users. This kind of technology is applied as an enabler of cloud computing which provides high-performance, high-availability computing resources with unique benefits. 1. Cloud Computing Layer Structure Before introduction of the virtual machine technology, we should start from the understanding of layer structure in the cloud computing, which is very important to evaluate the performance of virtualization adopted in the cloud computing environment. Although there are many different versions of the cloud computer layer structure, the basic concept is highly uniforms with the three main layers as shown in Figure 1: application, platform and infrastructure [10].

4 Figure 1: Layer Structure of Cloud Computing The upper layer - Client is the end-user that requests the computing services and acquires the service from the server. Client consists of computer hardware as well as computer software that relies on application delivery which provided by cloud computing and that is essential useless without it. For example, the client could be the computer, smart phones and other devices. It could also be the operating system or the browser running on those devices. Application layer, or as shown in Figure 1 Software as a Service (SaaS), delivers the software as service over the Internet. This kind of service eliminates the installation of applications locally as well as running the software on the end-users devices while simplifies the maintenance and support of the applications at the same time. SaaS has

5 already become a general delivery model for most business applications and has been combined into the strategy of all leading enterprise software companies. service is the most common type of SaaS. Platform level, also known as Platform as a Service (PaaS), provide the service of the cloud computing platform. PaaS offers the facility of application development without the underlying hardware support from the local and the cost of buying and maintenance the hardware. By using Platform-as-a-Service, it can lower costs of application initiatives while improving the business value of information technology. Examples are Amazon EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud), Google App Engine (supporting the Python framework), Microsoft Azure (running.net framework) and Force.com (proprietary SalesForce.com framework). The underlying infrastructure is controlled, updated and managed by Cloud Platform vendors Cloud Infrastructure service, also be called Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), is at the lower layer of the cloud layer structure. IaaS is delivered and consumed on-demand utilizing some sort of virtualization together with the hardware integration. It takes the computer infrastructure typically a platform virtualization environment as a service. The end-user can fully control over the various components of infrastructure, which means you can work with the infrastructure in just about any way you desire. The lower level Server is the basic layer of cloud computing which consists of

6 computer hardware and/or computer software products that are specifically designed for the delivery of cloud services. In general, it is the hardware and systems software in the datacenters that provide the cloud computing services. For example, the cloud vendors need to build up, maintain and support the multi-core processors, cloud-specific operating systems at this server level. As mentioned above, the differences between every layer is the client s control over the server. The upper level is totally isolated with the hardware platform while at the lower level infrastructure can be fully controlled. The different level of abstraction in the utility computing and the management of resources distinguish differences between service layers [1]. But the layers are not detached with each other. Once the client-server connection is established through the Internet, it is possible to share information and resource within any layer of the structure. Moreover, cloud computing vender can also provide the integrated service which combines two or more layers together. As the purpose of this paper focus on the lower level of computer system which needs to be related to the computer architecture, the virtualization technology in this paper concentrates on the platform layer and the infrastructure layer.

7 2. Virtualization Technology on Different Classes of Cloud Computing For cloud computing, the virtualization should be applied in computing resources such as the model of computation, the model of storage and the model of communication. It will create illusion of infinite capacity in order to hide the implementation of how they are multiplexed and shared. Different level of virtualization leads to the different utility computing, which means the level of abstraction presented to the user and the level of management of the resources characterize one specific utility service. The basic idea of virtual machine is a software implementation which simulates a physical machine. It means sharing the resources of a single physical computer among several different virtual computing environments effectively, one computer pretending to be several computers. In most cases of cloud computing, VM technology is applied on the cloud platform. There are several instances demonstrate the application of VM. 3.1 Amazon EC2 Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) is at one end of the spectrum which means it provides extremely low level hardware interactions [2]. It is a central part of Amazon.com's cloud computing platform that provides resizable compute capacity in the cloud. EC2 uses Xen virtualization. Each virtual machine, called an "instance", functions as a virtual private server. An EC2 instance looks much like physical hardware, and users can control nearly the

8 entire software stack, from the kernel upwards. The lower level of virtualization raw CPU cycles, block-device storage and IP-level connectivity allows programmers to develop their codes whatever they want. But on the opposite aspect, as the state management issues are highly application-dependent, the scalability and failover are limited by the low level virtualization. 3.2 Google AppEngine At the other extreme of the spectrum are application domain-specific platforms such as Google AppEngine. AppEngine is a platform as a service (PaaS) cloud computing platform for developing and hosting web applications in Google-managed data centers and is exclusively focus on the conventional web application [3]. It virtualizes applications across multiple servers and developers have read-only access to the file system on AppEngine. Applications can use only on virtual file systems. AppEngine applications have the restriction to be request-reply based which limits the CPU time they can use for servicing every single request. Thus, AppEngine is not suitable for general purpose of computing. But depending on these constraints can provide users automatic scalability as well as high-availability mechanism. 3.3 Microsoft Azure Microsoft Azure is the third instance to be introduced. It is a cloud application platform that performs in the middle between Amazon EC2 and Google AppEngine. Azure is intermediate

9 between complete application frameworks like AppEngine and hardware virtual machines like EC2. It provides a cloud operating system that serves as a runtime for the applications. The system supports general-purpose computing, rather than a single category of application [4]. Azure applications are written using the.net libraries, and compiled to the Common Language Runtime which is a language independent managed environment. Developers do have a choice of language, but cannot control the underlying operating system or runtime. Thus, it keeps a relative balance between the flexibility and user convenience. Figure 2 is the summarization of the three representatives about how they virtualize computation. Figure 2: Examples of Cloud Computing vendors and how each provides virtualized computation (Referred from part of [1] Tablet 4) Just like high-level programming language can be implemented basely on low-level ones, highly managed cloud platform can be hosted upon less-managed ones [1]. As mentioned above, Google AppEngine is relatively most highly managed so that it could be hosted on the top of either Microsoft Azure or Amazon EC2.

10 3. New Concepts of Virtual Machine Technology As the matter of fact of the widely adoption of virtual machine technology in the cloud computing environment, many problems are raised up and new concepts together with their implementations are then brought forward. 3.1 Virtual Machine Fork and SnowFlock Virtual Machine fork is one of those new cloud computing concepts. It instantaneously clones a virtual machine into many copies running on different hosts through the Internet [5]. The VM fork abstraction lets an application take advantage of cloud resources by forking multiple copies of its VM, and then execute independently on different physical host machines. All copies of VM share the same initial state, but matching the different requirement of every single hosts. VM fork thus enables the straightforward creation and efficient deployment of many tasks demanding swift instantiation of stateful workers in a cloud environment. Lack of instantaneous stateful cloning forces users of cloud computing into specific practices (ad hoc practices) to manage application state and cycle provisioning. SnowFlock was the implementation of the VM fork abstraction. It provides the VM cloning in sub-second level and has the scalability to make hundreds of replicas for workers while still consumes few cloud I/O resources, and has negligible runtime overhead [5]. SnowFlock is an

11 open-source project of Xen-based implementation. Xen virtualization consists of a hypervisor running at the highest processor priority level, controlling the execution of virtual machines [11]. SnowFlock lowers the barrier of entry to cloud computing and opens the door for new cloud applications. It has two key observations that make it valuable. First, there is possibility to significantly reduce the time it consumes to copy a VM by replicating only the critical state of its parent VM and fetching the VM s memory image efficiently on-demand. Furthermore, simple modifications to the guest kernel of the machine drastically decrease the network traffics by scheduling the write methods that need access to the memory and eliminating the transfer of pages that will be overwritten. These optimizations can dramatically reduce the communication cost for forking a virtual machine. Second, the memory locality accesses across cloned VMs make it useful and beneficial to distribute the virtual machine state using multiple casting. This allows for the instantiation of a large number of VMs at a low cost similar to that of forking a single copy. Virtual Machine fork has to be used with care as it replicates all the processes and threads of the parent virtual machine: conflicts may arise if multiple processes within the same virtual machine simultaneously invoke VM forking. Future tense work may focus on the schedule and communication scheme in order to improve the VM fork performance. 3.2 Virtual Infrastructure Management and OpenNebula

12 Other one of the new virtualization conceptions is related with the cloudy infrastructure management. As mentioned in the previous section, one of the many definitions of cloud is that of an infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) system. Cloud infrastructure is deployed in a provider s data center as virtual machines. It s all very well to outsource the chore of building and maintaining a data center, but someone must still supply that infrastructure. Amazon.com has moved into this niche of the Internet ecosystem. Amazon Web Services offers data storage priced by the gigabyte-month and computing capacity by the CPU-hour. Both kinds of resources expand and contract according to need. IBM has announced plans for the Blue Cloud infrastructure. And Google is already testing the AppEngine, which provides hosting on Google Server farms and a software environment centered on the Python programming language and the Big Table distributed storage system [1]. IaaS Cloud Computing is the next step in the evolution of the data center [6]. With IaaS clouds growing popularity, tools and technologies are emerging that can transform an organization s existing infrastructure into a private or hybrid cloud. Rather than the public cloud, private cloud is infrastructure operated solely for a single organization, whether managed internally or by a third-party and hosted internally or externally. And the Hybrid cloud infrastructure is a composition of two or more distinct cloud infrastructures (private, community, or public) [10]. OpenNebula is an open source, virtual infrastructure manager that deploys virtualized

13 services on both a local pool of resources and external IaaS clouds. The OpenNebula toolkit manages a data center's virtual infrastructure to build private, public and hybrid IaaS clouds. By relying on a flexible, open, and loosely coupled architecture [6]. OpenNebula is designed from the outset to be easy to integrate with other components. It can be primarily used as a virtualization tool to manage the virtual infrastructure in the data-center or cluster, which is usually referred as the private cloud. It also supports hybrid cloud to combine local infrastructure together with public cloud-based infrastructure, enabling highly scalable hosting environments. As a conclusion, OpenNebula is the virtual infrastructure management solution that provides leasing capabilities beyond immediate provisioning, including locally optimized leases and advanced reservation of capacity. 4. Conclusion In this paper, the basic cloud computing service structure is presented to show in which level virtualization technology should be applied. Then the representative models of cloud computing vendors are introduced together with the instances of application of VM in these models. At the end, several new concepts of the VM technology as well as the general implementation example. Although virtual machine technology plays an important role in the cloud computing to enhance the scalability as well as ensure the security of the utility computing service, it still

14 has limits in the way that their specifications cannot exceed that of their underlying host physical machine. Obviously, VM can only share whatever physical resources it is based on. If the physical machine has 12GB of RAM, then the virtual machines could just be set up using up to 12GB combined. However, the 12GB space can be distributed as whatever the user like. For example, one virtual computer could have 4GB while the rest only have 1GB. Similarly, it is with hard disk space and processing power. Furthermore, the restriction placed that virtual machines cannot exceed the host capabilities also applies if multiple VMs are running on the same host which is the most common situation of cloud server. In that case, the shared capabilities of the VMs cannot exceed that of the host physical machine as well. For example, if you have 4GB of RAM on the physical machine, then you can just run two VMs each with 2GB of RAM. In the view of fact that the virtual machine is limited by its host, several problems may arise as the obstacle of improvement in VM performance. Further work is to consider how to build up an effective mechanism to automatically adopt the change of host physical system such as new memory hardware flash memory is added into the memory hierarchy, how to make processors work well with VM and how to break through the host physical environment limitation in order to increase the VM performance. From the computer architecture view, we should focus on the hardware system of the implementation in cloud computing. It needs to be designed at the scale of a container which

15 determines the minimum level of the cloud computing value. The most important considerations of cloud computing hardware is the enhancement of performance matching with the cost of building up, operating and maintenance such as the energy efficiency and power issues. Hardware should be designed assuming that the low level software will be virtual machines rather than single local system software. References [1] Michael Armbrust, Armando Fox, "Above the Clouds: A Berkeley View of Cloud Computing" Technical Report No. UCB/EECS , Available from: [2] Amazon Web Service Introduction. Available form: [3] Google AppEngine Introduction. Available from: [4] Microsoft Azure Introduction. Available from: [5] Horacio Andres Lagar Cavilla, "SnowFlock: Rapid Virtual Machine Cloning for Cloud Computing", pp 1-12, In Proceedings of the 4th ACM European conference on Computer systems (2009). [6] Borja Sotomayor, Ruben S. Montero, "Virtual Infrastructure Management in Private and Hybrid Clouds", pp , IEEE Internet Computing, Vol. 13, No. 5. (09 September 2009) [7] Daniel Nurmi, Rich Wolski, "The Eucalyptus open-source cloud-computing system", pp , Cluster Computing and the Grid, IEEE International Symposium on In th

16 IEEE/ACM International Symposium on Cluster Computing and the Grid (CCGRID), Vol. 0 (May 2009). [8] Jinpeng Wei, "Managing Security of Virtual Machine Images in a CloudEnvironment", CCSW '09 Proceedings of the 2009 ACM workshop on Cloud computing security ACM New York [9] Vouk, M.A., "Cloud computing Issues, research and implementations", pp 31-40, Information Technology Interfaces, ITI th International Conference, (05 Aug. 2008). [10] Peter Mell, Timothy Grance, "The NIST Definition of Cloud Computing", NIST Special Publication [11] Xen Virtualization Technology Introduction. Available from:

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