|M.Sc Student||Gottesman Yonatan|
|Subject||NeSC: A self-virtualizing, nested storage controller|
|Department||Department of Electrical Engineering||Supervisor||Professor Yoav Etsion|
|Full Thesis text|
The emergence of high-speed, multi GB/s storage devices has shifted the performance bottleneck of storage virtualization to the software layers of the hypervisor. The hypervisor overheads can be avoided by allowing the virtual machine (VM) to directly access the storage device (a method known as direct device assignment), but this method voids all protection guarantees provided by filesystem permissions, since the device has no notion of client isolation. Recently, following the introduction of 10Gbs and higher networking interfaces, the PCIe specification was extended to include the Single Root IO Virtualization (SR-IOV) specification for self-virtualizing devices, which allows a single physical device to present multiple virtual interfaces on the PCIe interconnect. Using SR-IOV, a hypervisor can directly assign a virtual PCIe device interface to each of its VMs. However, as networking interfaces simply multiplex packets sent from/to different clients, the specification does not dictate the semantics of a virtual storage device and how to maintain data isolation in a self-virtualizing device.
In this research we present the self-virtualizing, nested storage controller (NeSC) architecture, which includes a filesystem-agnostic protection mechanism that enables the physical device to export files as virtual PCIe storage devices. The protection mechanism maps file offsets to physical blocks and thereby offloads the hypervisor's storage layer functionality to hardware. Using NeSC, a hypervisor can securely expose its files as virtual PCIe devices and directly assign them to VMs. We have prototyped a 1GB/s NeSC controller using a Virtex-7 FPGA development board connected to the PCIe interconnect. Our evaluation of NeSC on a real system shows that NeSC virtual devices enable VMs to access to their data with near-native performance (in terms of both throughput and latency).