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Support for flexible and transparent distributed computing

Liu, H.; (2010) Support for flexible and transparent distributed computing. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Modern distributed computing developed from the traditional supercomputing community rooted firmly in the culture of batch management. Therefore, the field has been dominated by queuing-based resource managers and work flow based job submission environments where static resource demands needed be determined and reserved prior to launching executions. This has made it difficult to support resource environments (e.g. Grid, Cloud) where the available resources as well as the resource requirements of applications may be both dynamic and unpredictable. This thesis introduces a flexible execution model where the compute capacity can be adapted to fit the needs of applications as they change during execution. Resource provision in this model is based on a fine-grained, self-service approach instead of the traditional one-time, system-level model. The thesis introduces a middleware based Application Agent (AA) that provides a platform for the applications to dynamically interact and negotiate resources with the underlying resource infrastructure. We also consider the issue of transparency, i.e., hiding the provision and management of the distributed environment. This is the key to attracting public to use the technology. The AA not only replaces user-controlled process of preparing and executing an application with a transparent software-controlled process, it also hides the complexity of selecting right resources to ensure execution QoS. This service is provided by an On-line Feedback-based Automatic Resource Configuration (OAC) mechanism cooperating with the flexible execution model. The AA constantly monitors utility-based feedbacks from the application during execution and thus is able to learn its behaviour and resource characteristics. This allows it to automatically compose the most efficient execution environment on the fly and satisfy any execution requirements defined by users. Two policies are introduced to supervise the information learning and resource tuning in the OAC. The Utility Classification policy classifies hosts according to their historical performance contributions to the application. According to this classification, the AA chooses high utility hosts and withdraws low utility hosts to configure an optimum environment. The Desired Processing Power Estimation (DPPE) policy dynamically configures the execution environment according to the estimated desired total processing power needed to satisfy users’ execution requirements. Through the introducing of flexibility and transparency, a user is able to run a dynamic/normal distributed application anywhere with optimised execution performance, without managing distributed resources. Based on the standalone model, the thesis further introduces a federated resource negotiation framework as a step forward towards an autonomous multi-user distributed computing world.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Support for flexible and transparent distributed computing
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/19725
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