IC Seminar : "Using Virtual Machines in Modern Computing Environments with Limited Architectural Support"


Event details

Date 04.05.2012 16:1517:30  
Speaker Edouard Bugnion, Stanford University
Category Conferences - Seminars
Virtualization has gone through a full ``popularity cycle''. Originally conceived in the mainframe era, virtual machines provided an efficient, isolated, and compatible duplicate of the hardware of the underlying machine.  Virtual machines quickly lost popularity with the increased sophistication of operating systems, and subsequent processor architectures were designed without consideration for virtualization.

In this talk, I propose to use virtual machines to address limitations of commodity operating systems on modern architectures, even in the absence of architectural support for virtualization in the hardware.  The primary technical contributions of the work were developed as part of two systems, each built for platforms with limited architectural support for virtualization. First, Disco ran commodity operating systems on scalable MIPS multiprocessors. Disco enabled virtual machines to form a virtual cluster that could transparently share the resources of the underlying multiprocessor. Second, VMware Workstation is a successful commercial product that allows multiple, unmodified operating systems to run concurrently on the same x86 system, allowing users to decouple their guest operating systems from the underlying hardware.  VMware Workstation was the first 32-bit virtual machine monitor for the x86 architecture, and demonstrated that the x86 architecture was indeed virtualizable, despite a lack of architectural support.

Today, and in part because of the impact of Disco and VMware, virtual machines once again play a foundational role in Information Technology, and current-generation hardware provides architectural support for virtualization, similar to what already existed decades ago on mainframes.

Edouard Bugnion started his Ph.D. at Stanford in 1994, and is expecting to finish it this month.  In the meantime, he co-founded two successful companies: VMware and Nuova Systems (acquired by Cisco).   At VMware from 1998 until 2005, he served multiple roles including CTO.  At Nuova/Cisco from 2005 until 2011, he built the core software team and became the VP/CTO of Cisco’s Server, Access, and Virtualization Technology Group, a group that brought to market Cisco’s Unified Computing System platform for virtualized datacenters.  

His research interests include computer systems, datacenter and cloud networking, as well as technology entrepreneurship.  For their work, Bugnion and his colleagues have received the ACM Software System Award (for VMware) and the ACM SIGOPS Hall of Fame Award (for Disco).  Edouard was raised in Neuchatel, Geneva, and graduated from ETHZ.

Practical information

  • Informed public
  • Free
  • This event is internal


  • Christine Moscioni


  • Christine Moscioni

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