Idleness is not sloth Richard Golding, Peter Bosch, Carl Staelin, Tim Sullivan, and John Wilkes Hewlett-Packard Laboratories, Palo Alto, CA Abstract Many people have observed that computer systems spend much of their time idle, and various schemes have been proposed to use this idle time productively. The commonest approach is to off-load activity from busy periods to less-busy ones in order to improve system responsiveness. In addition, speculative work can be performed in idle periods in the hopes that it will be needed later at times of higher utilization, or non-renewable resource like battery power can be conserved by disabling unused resources. We found opportunities to exploit idle time in our work on storage systems, and after a few attempts to tackle specific instances of it in ad hoc ways, began to investigate general mechanisms that could be applied to this problem. Our results include a taxonomy of idle-time detection algorithms, metrics for evaluating them, and an evaluation of a number of idleness predictors that we generated from our taxonomy.
To Become a USENIX Member, please see our Membership Information.