Task assignment in server farms under realistic workload conditions

Jayasinghe, M 2011, Task assignment in server farms under realistic workload conditions, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Computer Science and Information Technology, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Task assignment in server farms under realistic workload conditions
Author(s) Jayasinghe, M
Year 2011
Abstract Server farms have become very popular in recent years since they effectively address the problem of large delays, a common problem faced by many organisations whose systems receive high volumes of traffic. Recently, there has been a wide use of these server farms in two main areas, namely, Web hosting and scientific computing. The performance of such server farms is highly reliant on the underlying task assignment policy, a specific set of rules that defines how the incoming tasks are assigned to and processed at hosts. The aim of a task assignment policy is to optimise certain performance criteria such as the expected waiting time and slowdown. One of the key factors that affect the performance of these policies is the service time distribution of tasks. There is extensive evidence indicating that the service times of modern computer workloads closely follow heavy-tailed distributions that possess high variance. However, in certain environments, the service time distributions of tasks are unknown. Imposing parametric assumptions in such cases can lead to inaccurate and unreliable inferences. Considerable efforts have been made in recent years to devise efficient policies. Although these policies perform well under specific workload conditions, they have several major limitations. These include the assumption of known service times, inability to efficiently assign tasks in time sharing server farms, poor performance under changing workload conditions and poor performance under multiple server farms.

This thesis aims at proposing novel task assignment policies for assigning tasks in server farms under two main classes of realistic workload conditions, namely, the heavy-tailed and arbitrary service time distributions. Arbitrary service time distributions are assumed, for cases where the underlying service time distribution of tasks is unknown. First we investigate ways to optimise the performance in a time-sharing server. We concentrate on a particular scheduling policy called multi-level time sharing policy (MLTP). We provide an extensive performance analysis of MTLP and show that MLTP can result in significant performance improvements under certain traffic conditions. Second we investigate how to improve the performance in time sharing server farms using MLTP. Three task assignment policies are proposed for time sharing server farms. Third we investigate how to design efficient task assignment policies to assign tasks in multiple server farms. We propose MCTPM which is based on a multi-tier host architecture. MCTPM supports preemptive task migration and it controls the traffic flow into server farms via a global dispatching device so as to optimise the performance. Finally, we investigate ways to design adaptive task assignment policies that make no assumptions regarding the underlying service time distribution of tasks. We propose a novel task assignment policy, called ADAPT-POLICY, which is based on a set of static-based task assignment policies. ADAPT-POLICY is based on a set of policies for the server farm and it adaptively changes the task assignment policy to suit the most recent traffic conditions. The experimental performance analysis of ADAPT-POLICY shows that ADAPT-POLICY outperforms other policies under a range of traffic conditions.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Computer Science and Information Technology
Keyword(s) Performance optimisation in server farms
Task assignment
Heavy-tailed service time distributions
Preemptive migration
General service time distributions
Non-parametric density estimation
Adaptive task assignment
Queueing theory
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Created: Mon, 17 Sep 2012, 15:04:07 EST by Kelly Duong
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