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Supporting Higher Order Virtualization

J. Singer, C. Kirkham, and I. Watson


Virtualization is ubiquitous, with the global availability of the Java Virtual Machine and other similar virtual machine platforms. Higher-order virtualization involves building a stack of virtual machine layers. This provides obvious advantages such as: flexibility; separation of concerns; reuse of existing functionality; support for legacy platforms. However, the benefits of higher-order virtualization come at a price in terms of efficiency. This paper examines different techniques to increase the efficiency of higher-order virtualization on chip multiprocessor architectures. These techniques embrace hardware, software and virtual machine interaction. Some techniques (such as just-in-time compilation) are employed in existing virtual machine systems. Other techniques (such as hints-based speculative parallelism) have not been previously considered. We examine how to use these performance-enhancing techniques in the context of stacked virtual machine layers.