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USENIX 2005 Annual Technical Conference, General Track — Abstract

Pp. 75–88 of the Proceedings

CHAMELEON: A Self-Evolving, Fully-Adaptive Resource Arbitrator for Storage Systems

Sandeep Uttamchandani, IBM Almaden Research Center; Li Yin, University of California, Berkeley; Guillermo A. Alvarez and John Palmer, IBM Almaden Research Center; Gul Agha, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Enterprise applications typically depend on guaranteed performance from the storage subsystem, lest they fail. However, unregulated competition is unlikely to result in a fair, predictable apportioning of resources. Given that widespread access protocols and scheduling policies are largely best-effort, the problem of providing performance guarantees on a shared system is a very difficult one. Clients typically lack accurate information on the storage system's capabilities and on the access patterns of the workloads using it, thereby compounding the problem. CHAMELEON is an adaptive arbitrator for shared storage resources; it relies on a combination of self-refining models and constrained optimization to provide performance guarantees to clients. This process depends on minimal information from clients, and is fully adaptive; decisions are based on device and workload models automatically inferred, and continuously refined, at run-time. Corrective actions taken by CHAMELEON are only as radical as warranted by the current degree of knowledge about the system's behavior. In our experiments on a real storage system CHAMELEON identified, analyzed, and corrected performance violations in 3-14 minutes--which compares very favorably with the time a human administrator would have needed. Our learning-based paradigm is a most promising way of deploying large-scale storage systems that service variable workloads on an ever-changing mix of device types.
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