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[Qemu-devel] [PATCH v11 3/9] Add XBZRLE documentation

From: Orit Wasserman
Subject: [Qemu-devel] [PATCH v11 3/9] Add XBZRLE documentation
Date: Tue, 22 May 2012 15:56:59 +0300

Signed-off-by: Orit Wasserman <address@hidden>
 docs/xbzrle.txt |  114 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
 1 files changed, 114 insertions(+), 0 deletions(-)
 create mode 100644 docs/xbzrle.txt

diff --git a/docs/xbzrle.txt b/docs/xbzrle.txt
new file mode 100644
index 0000000..16950d5
--- /dev/null
+++ b/docs/xbzrle.txt
@@ -0,0 +1,114 @@
+XBZRLE (Xor Based Zero Run Length Encoding)
+Using XBZRLE (Xor Based Zero Run Length Encoding) allows for the reduction of 
+downtime and the total live-migration time of Virtual machines.
+It is particularly useful for virtual machines running memory write intensive
+workloads that are typical of large enterprise applications such as SAP ERP
+Systems, and generally speaking for any application that uses a sparse memory
+update pattern.
+Instead of sending the changed guest memory page this solution will send a
+compressed version of the updates, thus reducing the amount of data sent during
+live migration.
+In order to be able to calculate the update, the previous memory pages needed 
+be stored. Those pages are stored in a dedicated cache (hash table) and are
+accessed by their address.
+The larger the cache size the better the chances are that the page has already
+been stored in the cache.
+A small cache size will result in high cache miss rate.
+Cache size can be changed before and during migration.
+The compression format uses the zero value, where zero represents an unchanged
+The page data delta is represented by zero and non zero runs.
+A zero run is represented by it's length (in bytes).
+A non zero run is represented by it's length (in bytes) and the data.
+The run length is encoded using ULEB128 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LEB128)
+page = zrun nzrun
+       | zrun nzrun page
+zrun = length
+nzrun = length byte...
+length = uleb128 encoded integer
+On the sender side XBZRLE is used as a compact delta encoding of page updates,
+retrieving the old page content from the cache (default size of 512 MB). The
+receiving side uses the existing page's content and XBZRLE to decode the new
+page's content.
+This is a more compact way to store the deltas than the previous version.
+This work was originally based on research results published 
+VEE 2011: Evaluation of Delta Compression Techniques for Efficient Live
+Migration of Large Virtual Machines by Benoit, Svard, Tordsson and Elmroth.
+Additionally the delta encoder XBRLE was improved further using the XBZRLE
+XBZRLE has a sustained bandwidth of 2-2.5 GB/s for typical workloads making it
+ideal for in-line, real-time encoding such as is needed for live-migration.
+Migration Capabilities
+In order to use XBZRLE the destination QEMU version should be able to
+decode the new format.
+Adding a new migration capabilities command that will allow external management
+to query for it support.
+A typical use for the destination
+    {qemu} info migrate_capabilities
+    {qemu} xbzrle, ...
+In order to enable capabilities for future live migration,
+a new command migrate_set_parameter is introduced:
+    {qemu} migrate_set_parameter xbzrle
+1. Activate xbzrle
+2. Set the XBZRLE cache size - the cache size is in MBytes and should be a
+power of 2. The cache default value is 64MBytes.
+3. start outgoing migration
+A typical usage scenario:
+    {qemu} migrate_set_parameter xbzrle
+    {qemu} migrate_set_cachesize 256m
+    {qemu} migrate -d tcp:destination.host:4444
+    {qemu} info migrate
+    ...
+    transferred ram-duplicate: A kbytes
+    transferred ram-normal: B kbytes
+    transferred ram-xbrle: C kbytes
+    overflow ram-xbrle: D pages
+    cache-miss ram-xbrle: E pages
+cache-miss: the number of cache misses to date - high cache-miss rate
+indicates that the cache size is set too low.
+overflow: the number of overflows in the decoding which where the delta could
+not be compressed. This can happen if the changes in the pages are too large
+or there are many short changes for example change every second byte (half a
+Testing: Testing indicated that live migration with XBZRLE was completed in 110
+seconds, whereas without it would not be able to complete.
+A simple synthetic memory r/w load generator:
+..    include <stdlib.h>
+..    include <stdio.h>
+..    int main()
+..    {
+..        char *buf = (char *) calloc(4096, 4096);
+..        while (1) {
+..            int i;
+..            for (i = 0; i < 4096 * 4; i++) {
+..                buf[i * 4096 / 4]++;
+..            }
+..            printf(".");
+..        }
+..    }

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