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CPI^2: CPU performance isolation for shared compute clusters

Xiao Zhang
Robert Hagmann
Rohit Jnagal
Vrigo Gokhale
SIGOPS European Conference on Computer Systems (EuroSys), ACM, Prague, Czech Republic (2013), pp. 379-391


Performance isolation is a key challenge in cloud computing. Unfortunately, Linux has few defenses against performance interference in shared resources such as processor caches and memory buses, so applications in a cloud can experience unpredictable performance caused by other program's behavior. Our solution, CPI2, uses cycles-per-instruction (CPI) data obtained by hardware performance counters to identify problems, select the likely perpetrators, and then optionally throttle them so that the victims can return to their expected behavior. It automatically learns normal and anomalous behaviors by aggregating data from multiple tasks in the same job. We have rolled out CPI2 to all of Google's shared compute clusters. The paper presents the analysis that lead us to that outcome, including both case studies and a large-scale evaluation of its ability to solve real production issues.