In this work we propose a non-intrusive approach for monitoring virtual machines (VMs) in the cloud. At the core of this approach is a mechanism for selective real-time monitoring of guest file updates within VM instances. This mechanism is agentless, requiring no guest VM support. It has low virtual I/O overhead, low latency for emitting file updates, and a scalable design. Its central design principle is distributed streaming of file updates inferred from introspected disk sector writes. The mechanism, called Distributed Streaming Virtual Machine Introspection (DS-VMI), enables many system administration tasks that involve monitoring files to be performed outside VMs.
Wolfgang Richter is a 5th year PhD student in CS at CMU. He is interested in cloud computing and distributed systems. His main thread of research is developing general and scalable techniques for exploring the runtime and historic file system state of virtual machines (VMs). The focus is on performant solutions which incur low overhead and scale well to tens of thousands of running instances or stored virtual disk snapshots. He has developed two techniques exposing this state at scale: introspection, and retrospection.