Nowadays, virtualization solutions are gaining increasing importance. By enabling the sharing of physical resources, thus making resource usage more efficient, they promise energy and cost savings. Additionally, virtualization is the key enabling technology for Cloud Computing and server consolidation. However, the effects of sharing resources on system performance are not yet well-understood. This makes performance prediction and performance management of services deployed in such dynamic systems very challenging. Because of the large variety of virtualization solutions, a generic approach to predict the performance influences of virtualization platforms is highly desirable. In this paper, we present a hierarchical model capturing the major performance-relevant factors of virtualization platforms. We then propose a general methodology to quantify the influence of the identified factors based on an empirical approach using benchmarks. Finally, we present a case study of Citrix XenServer 5.5, a state-of-the-art virtualization platform.
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