DIMACS TR: 2003-16

Class-Dependent Assignment in Cluster-based Servers

Authors: Victoria Ungureanu, Phillip G. Bradford, Michael Katehakis, Benjamin Melamed


A cluster-based server consists of a front-end dispatcher and several back-end servers. The dispatcher receives incoming requests, and then assigns them to back-end servers for processing. Our goal is to devise an assignment policy that has good response time performance, and is practical to implement in that the amount of information used by the dispatcher is relatively small, so that the attendant computation and communication overheads are low. In contrast to extant assignment policies that apply the same assignment policy to all incoming jobs, our approach calls for the dispatcher to classify incoming jobs as long or short, and then use class-dependent assignment policies. Specifically, we propose a policy, called CDA (Class Dependent Assignment), where short jobs are assigned Round-Robin as soon as they arrive, while long jobs are deferred and assigned only when a back-end server becomes idle. Furthermore, when processing a long job, a back-end server is not assigned any other jobs.

Our approach is motivated by empirical evidence suggesting that the sizes of files traveling on the Internet follow power-law distributions, where long jobs constituting a small fraction of all incoming jobs actually account for a large fraction of the overall load. To gauge the performance of the proposed policy, we exercised it on empirical data traces measured at Internet sites serving the 1998 World Cup. Since the assignment of long jobs incurs computational overhead as well as extra communication overhead, we studied the performance of CDA as a function of the fraction of jobs classified as long. Our study shows that classification of even a small fraction of jobs as long can have a profound impact on overall response time performance. More specifically, our experimental results show that if less than 3% of the jobs are classified as long, then CDA outperforms traditional policies, such as Round-Robin, by two orders of magnitude. From an implementation viewpoint, these results support our contention that CDA -based assignment is a practical policy combining low overhead and greatly improved performance.

Paper Available at: ftp://dimacs.rutgers.edu/pub/dimacs/TechnicalReports/TechReports/2003/2003-16.ps.gz

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