High-density Multi-tenant Bare-metal Cloud

Session: Datacenter/cloud power/performance--Managing the beast.

Authors: Xiantao Zhang (Alibaba Group); Xiao Zheng (Alibaba Group); Zhi Wang (Florida State University); Hang Yang (Alibaba Group); Yibin Shen (Alibaba Group); Xin Long (Alibaba Group)

Virtualization is the cornerstone of the infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) cloud, where VMs from multiple tenants share a single physical server. This increases the utilization of data-center servers, allowing cloud providers to provide cost-efficient services. However, the multi-tenant nature of this service leads to serious security concerns, especially in regard to side-channel attacks. In addition, virtualization incurs non-negligible overhead in the performance of CPU, memory, and I/O. To this end, the bare-metal cloud has become an emerging type of service in the public clouds, where a cloud user can rent dedicated physical servers. The bare-metal cloud provides users with strong isolation, full and direct access to the hardware, and more predicable performance. However, the existing single-tenant bare-metal service has poor scalability, low cost efficiency, and weak adaptability because it can only lease entire physical servers to users and have no control over user programs after the server is leased. In this paper, we propose the design of a new high-density multi-tenant bare-metal cloud called BM-Hive. In BM-Hive, each bare-metal guest runs on its own compute board, a PCIe extension board with the dedicated CPU and memory modules. Moreover, BM-Hive features a hardware-software hybrid virtio I/O system that enables the guest to directly access the cloud network and storage services. BM-Hive can significantly improve the cost efficiency of the bare-metal service by hosting up to 16 bare-metal guests in a single physical server. In addition, BM-Hive strictly isolates the bare-metal guests at the hardware level for better security and isolation. We have deployed BM-Hive in one of the largest public cloud infrastructures. It currently serves tens of thousands of users at the same time. Our evaluation of BM-Hive demonstrates its strong performance over VMs.