VMM-Independent Graphics Acceleration

H. Andres Lagar-Cavilla, Niraj Tolia, M. Satyanarayanan , Eyal de Lara

3rd ACM SIGPLAN/SIGOPS Conference on Virtual Execution Environments (VEE), San Diego, CA, June 2007



This paper describes VMGL, a cross-platform OpenGL virtualization solution that is both virtual machine monitor (VMM) and graphics processing unit (GPU) independent. VMGL allows applications executing within virtual machines (VMs) to leverage hardware rendering acceleration, thus solving a problem that has limited virtualization of a growing class of graphics-intensive applications. VMGL also provides applications running within VMs with suspend and resume capabilities across GPUs from different vendors. Our experimental results from a number of graphics-intensive applications show that VMGL provides excellent rendering performance, coming within 14% or better of native graphics hardware acceleration. Further, VMGL’s performance is two orders of magnitude better than that of software rendering, the commonly available alternative today for graphics-intensive applications running in virtualized environments. Our results confirm VMGL’s portability across VMware Workstation and Xen (on VT and non-VT hardware), and across Linux (with and without paravirtualization), FreeBSD, and Solaris. Finally, the resource demands of VMGL align well with the emerging trend of multi-core processors.