checkpoint/restart ABI

Oren Laadan orenl at
Wed Aug 20 14:52:29 PDT 2008

Jeremy Fitzhardinge wrote:
> Dave Hansen wrote:
>>>> I'm not sure what you mean by "closed files".  Either the app has a fd,
>>>> it doesn't, or it is in sys_open() somewhere.  We have to get the app
>>>> into a quiescent state before we can checkpoint, so we basically just
>>>> say that we won't checkpoint things that are *in* the kernel.
>>> It's common for an app to write a tmp file, close it, and then open it a 
>>> bit later expecting to find the content it just wrote.  If you 
>>> checkpoint-kill it in the interim, reboot (clearing out /tmp) and then 
>>> resume, then it will lose its tmp file.  There's no explicit connection 
>>> between the process and its potential working set of files.
>> I respectfully disagree.  The number one prerequisite for
>> checkpoint/restart is isolation.  Xen just happens to get this for free.
> (I don't have my Xen hat on at all for this thread.)
>> So, instead of saying that there's no explicit connection between the
>> process and its working set, ask yourself how we make a connection.
>> In this case, we can do it with a filesystem (mount) namespace.  Each
>> container that we might want to checkpoint must have its writable
>> filesystems contained to a private set that are not shared with other
>> containers.  Things like union mounts would help here, but aren't
>> necessarily required.  They just make it more efficient.
> We were dealing with checkpointing random sets of processes, and that 
> posed all sorts of problems.  Filesystem namespace was one, the pid 
> namespace was another.  Doing checkpointing at the container-level 
> granularity definitely solves a lot of problems.
>>>> Is there anything specific you are thinking of that particularly worries
>>>> you?  I could write pages on the list you have there.
>>> No, that's the problem; it all worries me.  It's a big problem space.
>> It's almost as big of a problem as trying to virtualize entire machines
>> and expecting them to run as fast as native. :)
> No, it's much harder.  Hardware is relatively simple and immutable 
> compared to kernel and process state ;)
>> Cool!  I didn't know you guys did the IRIX implementation.  I'm sure you
>> guys got a lot farther than any of us are.  Did you guys ever write any
>> papers or anything on it?  I'd be interested in more information.
> Yeah, there was a paper, but it looks like the internet has lost it.  It 
> was at 
> has 
> mention of the paper.

you can find it here:


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