Palacios 1.1 and Kitten 1.1.0 Released

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Peter Dinda

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May 5, 2009, 11:24:41 AM5/5/09
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Palacios 1.1 and Kitten 1.1.0 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 1.1
and Kitten 1.1.0, two 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 9th fastest
supercomputer in the world), Palacios and Kitten can provide a
virtualized environment that enables near-native performance and
scaling for communication-intensive applications. 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. 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. The Palacios
1.1 codebase is about 20% larger than that of 1.0, which was released
in November, 2008. Significant new functionality has been added,
including 64 bit support, nested paging support, profiling, and
numerous virtual devices. Enhancements are present throughout the
codebase. Currently, Palacios can run on emulated PC hardware,
commodity PC hardware, and 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 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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