High-Performance, Robust, and Secure Live Migration of Virtual Machines

Virtual machines (VM) are one of the fundamental building blocks of modern cloud computing infrastructure. Live migration of VMs is a key feature of server virtualization and underlies numerous operations in cloud platforms such as routine maintenance, load balancing, scaling to handle peak demands, and saving energy. This research focuses on high-performance, robust, scalable, and secure techniques for live VM migration. Our group has investigated and developed a number of new live VM migration techniques.

  1. Post-Copy Migration that provides deterministic migration time by first migrating the VM's execution state to the destination followed by a single-pass memory transfer.
  2. Gang Migration for simultaneous live migration of multiple virtual machines using cluster-wide page deduplication.
  3. Scatter-Gather Migration for fast deprovisioning of servers via intermediaries.
  4. Agile Migration to improve responsiveness of migration to source-side resource pressures.
  5. Quick Eviction to rapidly evict a VM using incremental snapshots.
  6. Encrypted Live Migration Evaluation that uncovered dependencies between migration mechanisms, encryption algorithms, and workload types.
  7. Ephemeral Virtualization for sub-second control transfer of a VM between co-located hypervisor-level services.
  8. HyperFresh for live replacement of hypervisors beneath running VMs.

Principal Investigators

  • Prof. Kartik Gopalan
  • Prof. Ping Yang
  • Students


  • Umesh Deshpande, Ph.D., Placement: IBM Almaden Research Center
  • Dinuni Fernando, Ph.D.
  • Michael R. Hines, Ph.D, Placement: IBM T.J. Watson Research Center
  • Yaohui Hu, Ph.D., Placement: Microsoft
  • Tianlin Li, Ph.D.
  • Piush Sinha, Ph.D.
  • Masters

  • Hardik Bagdi, M.S., Placement: SAP
  • Danny Chan, M.S., (started as undergraduate)
  • James Edouard, M.S., (started as undergraduate)
  • Emine Kaynar, M.S.
  • Rohith Kugve, M.S., Placement: Microsoft
  • Sanket Panhale, M.S.
  • Undergraduate

  • Steven Chan, B.S.
  • Ten-Young Guh, B.S.
  • Rushil Kumar, B.S.
  • Samuel Stromswold, B.S.
  • Brandon Schlinker, B.S.
  • Jonathan Terner, B.S.
  • Collaborators

  • Dr. Nilton Bila, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center
  • Dr. Dan Williams, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center
  • Dr. Hani Jamjoom, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center
  • Dr. Charles Kamhoua, Air Force Rome Research Labs
  • Dr. Kevin Kwiat, Air Force Rome Research Labs
  • Publications

    1. Michael Hines and Kartik Gopalan, Post-Copy Based Live Virtual Machine Migration Using Adaptive Pre-Paging And Dynamic Self-Ballooning, In the International Conference on Virtual Execution Environments (VEE), Washington DC, March 2009. (Among four best papers at VEE 2009 selected for publication in OSR Special Issue). [paper] [bibtex]
    2. Michael Hines, Umesh Deshpande, and Kartik Gopalan, Post-Copy Live Migration of Virtual Machines, In SIGOPS Operating Systems Review, Volume 43, Number 3, pages 14--26, 2009. [paper] [bibtex]
    3. Umesh Deshpande, Xiaoshuang Wang, and Kartik Gopalan, Live Gang Migration of Virtual Machines. Proceedings of the 20th international symposium on High Performance Parallel and Distributed computing (HPDC), San Jose, CA, June 2011. [paper] [bibtex]
    4. Umesh Deshpande, Unmesh Kulkarni and Kartik Gopalan, Inter-rack Live Migration of Multiple Virtual Machines, Proc. of the 6th International Workshop on Virtualization Technologies in Distributed Computing, Delft, The Netherlands, June 2012. [paper] [bibtex]
    5. Umesh Deshpande, Brandon Schlinker, Eitan Adler, and Kartik Gopalan, Gang Migration of Virtual Machines using Cluster-wide Deduplication, In 13th IEEE/ACM International Symposium on Cluster, Cloud and Grid Computing (CCGrid), Delft, The Netherlands, May 2013. [paper] [bibtex]
    6. Umesh Deshpande, Yang You, Danny Chan, Nilton Bila, Kartik Gopalan, Fast Server Deprovisioning through Scatter-Gather Live Migration of Virtual Machines, In IEEE Cloud 2014 (Research Track), Anchorage, Alaska. [paper] [bibtex]
    7. Yaohui Hu, Sanket Panhale, Tianlin Li, Emine Ugur Kaynar, Danny Chan, Umesh Deshpande, Ping Yang, Kartik Gopalan, Performance Analysis of Encryption in Securing the Live Migration of Virtual Machines, In IEEE Cloud 2015, [paper] [bibtex]
    8. Umesh Deshpande, Danny Chan, Steven Chan, Kartik Gopalan, Nilton Bila, Scatter-Gather Migration of Virtual Machines, In IEEE Transactions on Cloud Computing, September 2015. [paper] [bibtex]
    9. Umesh Deshpande, Danny Chan, Ten-Young Guh, James Edouard, Kartik Gopalan, Nilton Bila, Agile Live Migration of Virtual Machines, In International Parallel and Distributed Processing Symposium (IPDPS) 2016. [paper] [bibtex]
    10. Dan Williams, Yaohui Hu, Umesh Deshpande, Nilton Bila, Kartik Gopalan, Hani Jamjoom, Enabling Efficient Hypervisor-as-a-Service Clouds with Ephemeral Virtualization, In International Conference on Virtual Execution Environments (VEE) 2016. [paper] [bibtex]
    11. D. Fernando, H. Bagdi, Y. Hu, P. Yang, K. Gopalan, C. Kamhoua, and K. Kwiat, Quick Eviction of Virtual Machines Through Proactive Live Snapshots, Full paper, IEEE/ACM International Conference on Utility and Cloud Computing (UCC) 2016, [paper] [bibtex]
    12. Hardik Bagdi, Rohith Kugve, Kartik Gopalan, HyperFresh: Live Refresh of Hypervisors Using Nested Virtualization, ACM Asia-Pacific Workshop on Systems (APSys) 2017, Mumbai, India. [paper] [bibtex]


    This research is funded, in part, by the National Science Foundation (through grants 1320689, 1527338, 0845832, 0855204, and 1005153), a Department of Education GAANN Fellowship, and Air Force Rome Labs.