"The Xenoserver project aims to build a public infrastructure for
wide-area distributed computing."
The Xenoserver project is building a public infrastructure for
wide-area distributed computing. We envisage a world in which
Xenoserver execution platforms will be scattered across the globe and
available for any member of the public to submit code for execution.
The sponsor of the code will be billed for all the resources used or
reserved during the course of execution. This will serve to encourage
load balancing, limit congestion, and hopefully even make the platform
A global infrastructure such as we propose is essential to address the
fundamental problem of communication latency. By enabling anyone to
run programs at points throughout the network we can ensure that their
code executes close to the entities with which it needs to interact.
As well as reducing latency this can be used to avoid network
bottlenecks, to reduce long-haul network charges and to provide a
platform over which code provided by transiently-connected mobile
devices can maintain a network presence.
This wide-ranging project has two main strands of work:
An overview of the complete project is available as a Computer Lab Technical
Report. Further information is available on-line about:
Ian Pratt is the principal
investigator for the project. The Xenoserver project is supported by
the EPSRC grants Xenoservers for pervasive computing,
Supporting flexible end-to-end services and FutureGRID: a
program for long-term research into GRID systems architecture and
by the Microsoft Research Embedded Systems IFP.
- Development of the Xen virtual machine monitor,
a high-performance hypervisor for hosting multiple commodity operating
systems on a single x86-based server. This forms the core of each
Xenoserver node, providing the resource management, accounting and
auditing that we require. Xen finds numerous applications outside the
Xenoserver project. These inclue server consolidation and secure
- Development of the Xenoserver Open
Platform control software for managing networks of Xenoservers.
Our research includes distributed storage, server discovery, resource
management and authentication, authorization and accounting (AAA)
functions. This work finds relevance to Grid computing and to
globally distributed testbeds such as PlanetLab.