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Isolation in the Containerized Datacenter

Event Date: November 2, 2015
Speaker: Remzi Arpaci-Dusseau
Speaker Affiliation: Professor, Department of Computer Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Type: Computer Engineering Distinguished Seminar
Time: 10:30am
Location: EE 118
Contact Name: Professor Saurabh Bagchi
Contact Phone: 765-49-43362
Contact Email:
Priority: No
College Calendar: Show


Containers are becoming a standard and important component within the modern datacenter. Provided by the host operating system, a container is intended to isolate one process (or group of processes) from others, thus creating the appearance of a private virtual machine for each containerized process running on the system. Unfortunately, we have found that the isolation support in modern operating systems is lacking. In this talk, I will demonstrate some of the fundamental limitations of modern containers, and describe our on-going work to provide significantly improved fault and performance isolation. Our key idea revolves around an isolation-friendly storage stack, including a top-to-bottom reconsideration of how storage systems must evolve to better support containers.


Remzi Arpaci-Dusseau is a full professor in the Computer Sciences department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he has taught for nearly 16 years. He co-leads a group with his wife Andrea Arpaci-Dusseau; their work focuses on systems (broadly) but with a special emphasis on file and storage systems. They have graduated 17 Ph.D. students in their time at Wisconsin, and some of their innovations, including block-level storage introspection, transactional  check summing, and fast file system checking, now ship in commercial systems and are used daily by millions of people. Remzi also cares deeply about education, and has won the SACM Student Choice Professor of the Year award four times and the Carolyn Rosner "Excellent Educator" award once. Chapters from a freely available OS book he and his wife co-wrote, found at, have been downloaded millions of times in the past few years; the book is in use at numerous institutions around the world. Remzi is also an active participant in the systems community, having served on numerous program committees, as well as co-chair of USENIX ATC '04, FAST '07, OSDI '10, and SOCC '14; he is also currently an associate editor for ACM TOCS. Remzi has been a NetApp faculty fellow, an IBM faculty award winner, an NSF CAREER award winner, and has consulted for numerous storage companies and served on a few advisory boards.