Palacios 1.2 and Kitten 1.2.0 Released

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Peter Dinda

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Feb 4, 2010, 8:40:21 AM2/4/10
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Palacios 1.2 and Kitten 1.2.0 Released


The V3VEE Project at Northwestern University and the University of New
Mexico, and the Scalable System Software Department at Sandia National
Laboratories are pleased to announce the joint release of Palacios 1.2
and Kitten 1.2.0, substantially improved versions of these new open
source operating systems. Palacios is a virtual machine monitor (VMM)
for modern architectures, while Kitten is a lightweight kernel for
high performance computing. The combination of Palacios and Kitten
enables applications, whether virtualized or not, to achieve scalable
high performance on large machines. On Sandia's Red Storm machine (the
17th fastest supercomputer in the world), Palacios and Kitten can
provide a virtualized environment that enables near-native performance
and scaling for communication-intensive applications, at scales in
excess of 4096 nodes. More broadly, the two operating systems provide
an open substrate for virtualization research, development, use, and
teaching in computer systems, computer architecture, and high
performance computing.

Palacios is a "type I", non-paravirtualized VMM that makes extensive
use of the virtualization extensions in modern x86 processors, such as
AMD's SVM and Intel's VT-x. Palacios can be embedded into existing
kernels, including very small kernels. Thus far, Palacios has been
embedded into Kitten and the University of Maryland's GeekOS teaching
kernel. Compared to 1.2, significant new functionality has been added,
including Intel VT-x support, telemetry, virtio devices, passthrough
PCI, symbiotic virtualization interfaces, runtime XML-based guest
configuration, a KBuild-based compile time configuration framework, a
default guest, and an internal sockets API. Enhancements are present
throughout the codebase. Currently, Palacios can run on emulated PC
hardware, commodity PC hardware, and Cray XT3/4 machines such as Red
Storm.

Kitten is a lightweight kernel operating system designed to be used on
the compute nodes of distributed memory supercomputers. The primary
goal of Kitten is to enable supercomputer applications to scale to
significantly higher node counts and perform substantially better than
is possible with general-purpose compute node operating systems, such
as Linux. The design choices in Kitten target scalability (low noise,
deterministic behavior) and performance (physically contiguous memory
layout, transparent large pages, and novel techniques for taking
better advantage of multi-core processors). Currently, Kitten can run
on emulated PC hardware, commodity PC hardware, and Cray XT3/4
machines such as Red Storm.

The V3VEE Project is a collaboration between Northwestern University
and the University of New Mexico, and is supported by the United
States National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy. It is
a community resource development project that is creating an open
source virtual machine monitor framework for modern architectures.
The Scalable System Software Department at Sandia National
Laboratories is responsible for developing effective systems software
for some of the most performance-critical large scale supercomputers
in the world.

Palacios is BSD-licensed and available from http://v3vee.org. Kitten
is GPL-licensed and available from
https://software.sandia.gov/trac/kitten. Detailed instructions on how
to download, install, build, and use both operating systems are
available at http://v3vee.org. The site also includes links to the
relevant discussion groups. Community enhancements to both Palacios
and Kitten are very much welcomed.

--The V3VEE Team
--The Kitten Team

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