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Network interface virtualization: challenges and solutions

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2 Author(s)
Ryan Shea ; Simon Fraser University ; Jiangchuan Liu

Recently, computer virtualization has become an important technology in nearly every large organization's IT infrastructure. At its core, computer virtualization allows a single physical machine to be split into several virtual machines. Through the use of VMs, organizations can decrease operational costs through server consolidation and better utilization of computational resources. VMs also allow organizations to outsource their computational requirements to utility computing platforms such as cloud computing. The benefit of computer virtualization comes together with overhead, affecting virtually every subsystem, particularly the network subsystem that involves both hardware and software components, and both local and remote accesses. This article provides an intuitive understanding of state-of-the-art software-based virtual network interfaces and the causes of virtualization overhead through both system analysis and real experiments. We further discuss the recent hardware advances in this field as well as the challenges yet to be addressed.

Published in:

IEEE Network  (Volume:26 ,  Issue: 5 )