Scientists get a million Linux kernels to run at once

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Scientists at Sandia National Laboratories in Livermore, have run more than a million Linux kernels as virtual machines.

The technique will allow them to effectively observe behaviour found in malicious botnets, or networks of infected machines that can operate on the scale of a million nodes.

One of the researchers Ron Minnich, said they are often difficult to analyze since they are geographically spread all over the world.

However using virtual machine and a Thunderbird supercomputing cluster for the demonstration, the team was able to run VMS at a similar scale as a botnet.

This  allows cyber researchers to watch how botnets work and explore ways to stop them in their tracks said Minnich.

The largest number of kernals that had been run at once was 20,000 kernels.  However the more kernels that can be run at once the more effective cyber security professionals can be in combating the global botnet problem.

The hope is one day to emulate the computer network of a small nation, or even one as large as the United States, in order to ‘virtualise’ and monitor a cyber attack.”

“The sheer size of the Internet makes it very difficult to understand in even a limited way,” said Minnich.
It has been estimated that the team will need to run 100 million CPUs by 2018 in order to build a computer that will run at the speeds they need.