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CPU contention

CPU contention

(also CPU competition, CPU resource contention)

CPU contention definition

CPU contention refers to a situation where multiple virtual machines (VMs) or processes compete for the central processing unit’s (CPU) resources, causing performance degradation. This occurs when the demand for processing power exceeds the available resources, leading to slowdowns, latency, and reduced system efficiency.

CPU contention examples

  • Running multiple resource-intensive applications simultaneously, such as video rendering software, gaming, and virtual machines, can lead to CPU contention.
  • In a cloud environment, multiple VMs may compete for the same physical CPU resources, causing performance issues for all VMs involved.

CPU contention vs. other resource contention

Other types of resource contention include memory contention and I/O contention. Memory contention occurs when multiple processes or VMs compete for available RAM, while I/O contention happens when multiple processes or VMs compete for storage or network resources.

Managing CPU contention

Some strategies for mitigating CPU contention include:

  • Properly allocating resources: Distribute CPU resources fairly among VMs or applications to prevent over-commitment.
  • Load balancing: Distribute workloads across multiple physical CPUs to avoid overloading a single CPU.
  • Prioritization: Assign higher priority to critical processes or VMs, ensuring they have sufficient resources.
  • Monitoring: Regularly monitor CPU usage and identify potential bottlenecks or contention issues.

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