Departmental Papers (CIS)


Real-Time Multi-Core Virtual Machine Scheduling in Xen

Date of this Version


Document Type

Conference Paper


Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Embedded Software (EMSOFT 2014), New Delhi, India, October 12-17, 2014.


Recent years have witnessed two major trends in the development of complex real-time embedded systems. First, to reduce cost and enhance flexibility, multiple systems are sharing common computing platforms via virtualization technology, instead of being deployed separately on physically isolated hosts. Second, multicore processors are increasingly being used in real-time systems. The integration of real-time systems as virtual machines (VMs) atop common multicore platforms raises significant new research challenges in meeting the real-time performance requirements of multiple systems. This paper advances the state of the art in real-time virtualization by designing and implementing RT-Xen 2.0, a new real-time multicore VM scheduling framework in the popular Xen virtual machine monitor (VMM). RT-Xen 2.0 realizes a suite of real-time VM scheduling policies spanning the design space. We implement both global and partitioned VM schedulers; each scheduler can be configured to support dynamic or static priorities and to run VMs as periodic or deferrable servers. We present a comprehensive experimental evaluation that provides important insights into real-time scheduling on virtualized multicore platforms: (1) both global and partitioned VM scheduling can be implemented in the VMM at moderate overhead; (2) at the VMM level, while compositional scheduling theory shows partitioned EDF (pEDF) is better than global EDF (gEDF) in providing schedulability guarantees, in our experiments their performance is reversed in terms of the fraction of workloads that meet their deadlines on virtualized multicore platforms; (3) at the guest OS level, pEDF requests a smaller total VCPU bandwidth than gEDF based on compositional scheduling analysis, and therefore using pEDF at the guest OS level leads to more schedulable workloads in our experiments; (4) a combination of pEDF in the guest OS and gEDF in the VMM – configured with deferrable server – leads to the highest fraction of schedulable task sets compared to other real-time VM scheduling policies; and (5) on a platform with a shared last-level cache, the benefits of global scheduling outweigh the cache penalty incurred by VM migration.

Subject Area

CPS Real-Time

Publication Source

Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Embedded Software



Copyright/Permission Statement

© ACM 2014. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive Version of Record was published in Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Embedded Software,


processors, real-time and embedded systems, process management, scheduling



Date Posted: 14 October 2015

This document has been peer reviewed.