Scatter-Gather Live Migration of Virtual Machines

Traditional metrics for live migration of virtual machines (VM) include total migration time, downtime, network overhead, and application degradation. In this project, we introduce a new metric, eviction time, defined as the time to evict the entire state of a VM from the source host. Eviction time determines how quickly the source host can be taken offline, or the freed resources re-purposed for other VMs. In traditional approaches for live VM migration, such as pre-copy and post-copy, eviction time is equal to the total migration time, because the source and destination hosts are coupled for the duration of the migration. Eviction time increases if the destination host is slow to receive the incoming VM, such as due to insufficient memory or network bandwidth, thus tying up the source host. We have develped a new approach, called Scatter-Gather live migration, which reduces the eviction time when the destination host is resource constrained. The key idea is to decouple the source and the destination hosts. The source scatters the VM's memory state quickly to multiple intermediaries (hosts or middleboxes) in the cluster. Concurrently, the destination gathers the VM's memory from the intermediaries using a variant of post-copy VM migration. We have implemented a prototype of Scatter-Gather in the KVM/QEMU platform. In our evaluations, Scatter-Gather reduces the VM eviction time by up to a factor of 6 while maintaining comparable total migration time against traditional pre-copy and post-copy for a resource constrained destination.


  1. Umesh Deshpande, Danny Chan, Steven Chan, Kartik Gopalan, Nilton Bila, Scatter-Gather Migration of Virtual Machines, In IEEE Transactions on Cloud Computing, To Appear, Accepted September 2015. [preprint]
  2. Umesh Deshpande, Yang You, Danny Chan, Nilton Bila, Kartik Gopalan, Fast Server Deprovisioning through Scatter-Gather Live Migration of Virtual Machines, In Proc. of IEEE Cloud 2014 (Research Track), Anchorage, Alaska. [pdf] [bibtex]


  1. Scatter-Gather Live Migration of Virtual Machines, In Workshop on Recent Advances in High-Performance Parallel and Distributed Computing, Evanston, IL, 2014. [pdf]


This project is supported in part by the National Science Foundation (through grants 0845832, 0855204, 1320689, 1005153, and 1040666), and the Department of Education (GAANN).