Virtual Machine Memory Overcommitment

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Scheduled: Wednesday, September 7, 2011 from 11:40am – 12:30pm in Alexander Valley Ball Room

One Line Summary

Memory Overcommit has an increasing number of players and complexity across the entire software stack. This talk will take a look at how they interact.


Memory management in hypervisors is complicated. Nearly every virtualization system from mainframes to Xen to QEMU recognizes this in some form. However, the facilities vary widely, and often lack consistency or coordination. For example, the kernel has at least four different balloon drivers each with subtly different behavior.

We now have userspace application frameworks (MOM) controlling several qemu instances, each potentially with their own specific implementation and implications, and libraries like libvirt wanting to tie all of this

This talk will gather folks from the hypervisors, userspace, and the kernel to hash out the current issues, and understand common problems.

Google Docs version of slides

Presentation Materials