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Chapter: Distributed and Cloud Computing: From Parallel Processing to the Internet of Things : Distributed System Models and Enabling Technologies

Performance, Security, and Energy Efficiency

1. Performance Metrics and Scalability Analysis 2. Fault Tolerance and System Availability 3. Network Threats and Data Integrity 4. Energy Efficiency in Distributed Computing


In this section, we will discuss the fundamental design principles along with rules of thumb for building massively distributed computing systems. Coverage includes scalability, availability, programming models, and security issues in clusters, grids, P2P networks, and Internet clouds.


1. Performance Metrics and Scalability Analysis


Performance metrics are needed to measure various distributed systems. In this section, we will dis-cuss various dimensions of scalability and performance laws. Then we will examine system scalabil-ity against OS images and the limiting factors encountered.


1.1 Performance Metrics


We discussed CPU speed in MIPS and network bandwidth in Mbps in Section 1.3.1 to estimate pro-cessor and network performance. In a distributed system, performance is attributed to a large number of factors. System throughput is often measured in MIPS, Tflops (tera floating-point operations per second), or TPS (transactions per second). Other measures include job response time and network latency. An interconnection network that has low latency and high bandwidth is preferred. System overhead is often attributed to OS boot time, compile time, I/O data rate, and the runtime support sys-tem used. Other performance-related metrics include the QoS for Internet and web services; system availability and dependability; and security resilience for system defense against network attacks.


1.2 Dimensions of Scalability


Users want to have a distributed system that can achieve scalable performance. Any resource upgrade in a system should be backward compatible with existing hardware and software resources. Overdesign may not be cost-effective. System scaling can increase or decrease resources depending on many practi-cal factors. The following dimensions of scalability are characterized in parallel and distributed systems:


    Size scalability This refers to achieving higher performance or more functionality by increasing the machine size. The word size refers to adding processors, cache, memory, storage, or I/O channels. The most obvious way to determine size scalability is to simply count the number of processors installed. Not all parallel computer or distributed architectures are equally size-scalable. For example, the IBM S2 was scaled up to 512 processors in 1997. But in 2008, the IBM BlueGene/L system scaled up to 65,000 processors.


    Software scalability This refers to upgrades in the OS or compilers, adding mathematical and engineering libraries, porting new application software, and installing more user-friendly programming environments. Some software upgrades may not work with large system configurations. Testing and fine-tuning of new software on larger systems is a nontrivial job.


    Application scalability This refers to matching problem size scalability with machine size scalability. Problem size affects the size of the data set or the workload increase. Instead of increasing machine size, users can enlarge the problem size to enhance system efficiency or cost-effectiveness.


    Technology scalability This refers to a system that can adapt to changes in building tech-nologies, such as the component and networking technologies discussed in Section 3.1. When scaling a system design with new technology one must consider three aspects: time, space, and heterogeneity. (1) Time refers to generation scalability. When changing to new-generation processors, one must consider the impact to the motherboard, power supply, packaging and cooling, and so forth. Based on past experience, most systems upgrade their commodity processors every three to five years. (2) Space is related to packaging and energy concerns. Technology scalability demands harmony and portability among suppliers. (3) Heterogeneity refers to the use of hardware components or software packages from different vendors. Heterogeneity may limit the scalability.

1.3 Scalability versus OS Image Count


In Figure 1.23, scalable performance is estimated against the multiplicity of OS images in distributed systems deployed up to 2010. Scalable performance implies that the system can achieve higher speed by adding more processors or servers, enlarging the physical nodes memory size, extending the disk capacity, or adding more I/O channels. The OS image is counted by the number of inde-pendent OS images observed in a cluster, grid, P2P network, or the cloud. SMP and NUMA are included in the comparison. An SMP (symmetric multiprocessor) server has a single system image, which could be a single node in a large cluster. By 2010 standards, the largest shared-memory SMP node was limited to a few hundred processors. The scalability of SMP systems is constrained primarily by packaging and the system interconnect used.


NUMA (nonuniform memory access) machines are often made out of SMP nodes with distributed, shared memory. A NUMA machine can run with multiple operating systems, and can scale to a few thousand processors communicating with the MPI library. For example, a NUMA machine may have 2,048 processors running 32 SMP operating systems, resulting in 32 OS images in the 2,048-processor NUMA system. The cluster nodes can be either SMP servers or high-end machines that are loosely coupled together. Therefore, clusters have much higher scalability than NUMA machines. The number of OS images in a cluster is based on the cluster nodes concurrently in use. The cloud could be a virtualized cluster. As of 2010, the largest cloud was able to scale up to a few thousand VMs.


Keeping in mind that many cluster nodes are SMP or multicore servers, the total number of pro-cessors or cores in a cluster system is one or two orders of magnitude greater than the number of OS images running in the cluster. The grid node could be a server cluster, or a mainframe, or a supercomputer, or an MPP. Therefore, the number of OS images in a large grid structure could be hundreds or thousands fewer than the total number of processors in the grid. A P2P network can easily scale to millions of independent peer nodes, essentially desktop machines. P2P performance

depends on the QoS in a public network. Low-speed P2P networks, Internet clouds, and computer clusters should be evaluated at the same networking level.


1.4 Amdahl’s Law


Consider the execution of a given program on a uniprocessor workstation with a total execution time of T minutes. Now, lets say the program has been parallelized or partitioned for parallel execution on a cluster of many processing nodes. Assume that a fraction α of the code must be executed sequentially, called the sequential bottleneck. Therefore, (1 α) of the code can be compiled for parallel execution by n processors. The total execution time of the program is calculated by α T + (1 − α)T/n, where the first term is the sequential execution time on a single processor and the second term is the parallel execution time on n processing nodes.


All system or communication overhead is ignored here. The I/O time or exception handling time is also not included in the following speedup analysis. Amdahls Law states that the speedup factor of using the n-processor system over the use of a single processor is expressed by:

The maximum speedup of n is achieved only if the sequential bottleneck α is reduced to zero or the code is fully parallelizable with α = 0. As the cluster becomes sufficiently large, that is, n , S approaches 1/α, an upper bound on the speedup S. Surprisingly, this upper bound is independent of the cluster size n. The sequential bottleneck is the portion of the code that cannot be parallelized. For example, the maximum speedup achieved is 4, if α = 0.25 or 1 α = 0.75, even if one uses hundreds of processors. Amdahls law teaches us that we should make the sequential bottle-neck as small as possible. Increasing the cluster size alone may not result in a good speedup in this case.



1.5 Problem with Fixed Workload


In Amdahls law, we have assumed the same amount of workload for both sequential and parallel execution of the program with a fixed problem size or data set. This was called fixed-workload speedup by Hwang and Xu [14]. To execute a fixed workload on n processors, parallel processing may lead to a system efficiency defined as follows:

Very often the system efficiency is rather low, especially when the cluster size is very large. To execute the aforementioned program on a cluster with n = 256 nodes, extremely low efficiency E = 1/[0.25 × 256 + 0.75] = 1.5% is observed. This is because only a few processors (say, 4) are kept busy, while the majority of the nodes are left idling.


1.6 Gustafson’s Law


To achieve higher efficiency when using a large cluster, we must consider scaling the problem size to match the cluster capability. This leads to the following speedup law proposed by John Gustafson (1988), referred as scaled-workload speedup in [14]. Let W be the workload in a given program. When using an n-processor system, the user scales the workload to W′ = αW + (1 α)nW. Note that only the parallelizable portion of the workload is scaled n times in the second term. This scaled workload W′ is essentially the sequential execution time on a single processor. The parallel execution time of a scaled workload W′ on n processors is defined by a scaled-workload speedup as follows:

This speedup is known as Gustafsons law. By fixing the parallel execution time at level W, the following efficiency expression is obtained:

For the preceding program with a scaled workload, we can improve the efficiency of using a 256-node cluster to E′ = 0.25/256 + 0.75 = 0.751. One should apply Amdahls law and Gustafsons law under different workload conditions. For a fixed workload, users should apply Amdahls law. To solve scaled problems, users should apply Gustafsons law.


2. Fault Tolerance and System Availability


In addition to performance, system availability and application flexibility are two other important design goals in a distributed computing system.


2.1 System Availability


HA (high availability) is desired in all clusters, grids, P2P networks, and cloud systems. A system is highly available if it has a long mean time to failure (MTTF) and a short mean time to repair (MTTR). System availability is formally defined as follows:

System availability is attributed to many factors. All hardware, software, and network components may fail. Any failure that will pull down the operation of the entire system is called a single point of failure. The rule of thumb is to design a dependable computing system with no single point of failure. Adding hardware redundancy, increasing component reliability, and designing for testability will help to enhance system availability and dependability. In Figure 1.24, the effects on system availability are estimated by scaling the system size in terms of the number of processor cores in the system.


In general, as a distributed system increases in size, availability decreases due to a higher chance of failure and a difficulty in isolating the failures. Both SMP and MPP are very vulnerable with centralized resources under one OS. NUMA machines have improved in availability due to the use of multiple OSes. Most clusters are designed to have HA with failover capability. Meanwhile, pri-vate clouds are created out of virtualized data centers; hence, a cloud has an estimated availability similar to that of the hosting cluster. A grid is visualized as a hierarchical cluster of clusters. Grids have higher availability due to the isolation of faults. Therefore, clusters, clouds, and grids have decreasing availability as the system increases in size. A P2P file-sharing network has the highest aggregation of client machines. However, it operates independently with low availability, and even many peer nodes depart or fail simultaneously.


3. Network Threats and Data Integrity


Clusters, grids, P2P networks, and clouds demand security and copyright protection if they are to be accepted in todays digital society. This section introduces system vulnerability, network threats, defense countermeasures, and copyright protection in distributed or cloud computing systems.


3.1 Threats to Systems and Networks


Network viruses have threatened many users in widespread attacks. These incidents have created a worm epidemic by pulling down many routers and servers, and are responsible for the loss of bil-lions of dollars in business, government, and services. Figure 1.25 summarizes various attack types and their potential damage to users. As the figure shows, information leaks lead to a loss of confidentiality. Loss of data integrity may be caused by user alteration, Trojan horses, and service spoofing attacks. A denial of service (DoS) results in a loss of system operation and Internet connections.


Lack of authentication or authorization leads to attackers illegitimate use of computing resources. Open resources such as data centers, P2P networks, and grid and cloud infrastructures could become the next targets. Users need to protect clusters, grids, clouds, and P2P systems. Otherwise, users should not use or trust them for outsourced work. Malicious intrusions to these systems may destroy valuable hosts, as well as network and storage resources. Internet anomalies found in routers, gateways, and distributed hosts may hinder the acceptance of these public-resource computing services.


3.2 Security Responsibilities


Three security requirements are often considered: confidentiality, integrity, and availability for most Internet service providers and cloud users. In the order of SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS, the providers gra-dually release the responsibility of security control to the cloud users. In summary, the SaaS model relies on the cloud provider to perform all security functions. At the other extreme, the IaaS model wants the users to assume almost all security functions, but to leave availability in the hands of the providers. The PaaS model relies on the provider to maintain data integrity and availability, but bur-dens the user with confidentiality and privacy control.

3.3 Copyright Protection


Collusive piracy is the main source of intellectual property violations within the boundary of a P2P network. Paid clients (colluders) may illegally share copyrighted content files with unpaid clients (pirates). Online piracy has hindered the use of open P2P networks for commercial content delivery. One can develop a proactive content poisoning scheme to stop colluders and pirates from alleged copy-right infringements in P2P file sharing. Pirates are detected in a timely manner with identity-based signatures and timestamped tokens. This scheme stops collusive piracy from occurring without hurting legitimate P2P clients. Chapters 4 and 7 cover grid and cloud security, P2P reputation systems, and copyright protection.


3.4 System Defense Technologies


Three generations of network defense technologies have appeared in the past. In the first generation, tools were designed to prevent or avoid intrusions. These tools usually manifested themselves as access control policies or tokens, cryptographic systems, and so forth. However, an intruder could always penetrate a secure system because there is always a weak link in the security provisioning process. The second generation detected intrusions in a timely manner to exercise remedial actions. These techniques included firewalls, intrusion detection systems (IDSes), PKI services, reputation systems, and so on. The third generation provides more intelligent responses to intrusions.


3.5 Data Protection Infrastructure

Security infrastructure is required to safeguard web and cloud services. At the user level, one needs to perform trust negotiation and reputation aggregation over all users. At the application end, we need to establish security precautions in worm containment and intrusion detection against virus, worm, and distributed DoS (DDoS) attacks. We also need to deploy mechanisms to prevent online piracy and copyright violations of digital content. In Chapter 4, we will study reputation systems for protecting cloud systems and data centers. Security responsibilities are divided between cloud providers and users differently for the three cloud service models. The providers are totally responsible for platform availability. The IaaS users are more responsible for the confidentiality issue. The IaaS providers are more responsible for data integrity. In PaaS and SaaS services, providers and users are equally responsible for preserving data integrity and confidentiality.



4. Energy Efficiency in Distributed Computing


Primary performance goals in conventional parallel and distributed computing systems are high performance and high throughput, considering some form of performance reliability (e.g., fault tol-erance and security). However, these systems recently encountered new challenging issues including energy efficiency, and workload and resource outsourcing. These emerging issues are crucial not only on their own, but also for the sustainability of large-scale computing systems in general. This section reviews energy consumption issues in servers and HPC systems, an area known as distributed power management (DPM).


Protection of data centers demands integrated solutions. Energy consumption in parallel and dis-tributed computing systems raises various monetary, environmental, and system performance issues. For example, Earth Simulator and Petaflop are two systems with 12 and 100 megawatts of peak power, respectively. With an approximate price of $100 per megawatt, their energy costs during peak operation times are $1,200 and $10,000 per hour; this is beyond the acceptable budget of many (potential) system operators. In addition to power cost, cooling is another issue that must be addressed due to negative effects of high temperature on electronic components. The rising tempera-ture of a circuit not only derails the circuit from its normal range, but also decreases the lifetime of its components.


4.1 Energy Consumption of Unused Servers


To run a server farm (data center) a company has to spend a huge amount of money for hardware, software, operational support, and energy every year. Therefore, companies should thoroughly identify whether their installed server farm (more specifically, the volume of provisioned resources) is at an appropriate level, particularly in terms of utilization. It was estimated in the past that, on average, one-sixth (15 percent) of the full-time servers in a company are left powered on without being actively used (i.e., they are idling) on a daily basis. This indicates that with 44 million servers in the world, around 4.7 million servers are not doing any useful work.


The potential savings in turning off these servers are large$3.8 billion globally in energy costs alone, and $24.7 billion in the total cost of running nonproductive servers, according to a study by 1E Company in partnership with the Alliance to Save Energy (ASE). This amount of wasted energy is equal to 11.8 million tons of carbon dioxide per year, which is equivalent to the CO pollution of 2.1 million cars. In the United States, this equals 3.17 million tons of carbon dioxide, or 580,678 cars. Therefore, the first step in IT departments is to analyze their servers to find unused and/or underutilized servers.


4.2 Reducing Energy in Active Servers


In addition to identifying unused/underutilized servers for energy savings, it is also necessary to apply appropriate techniques to decrease energy consumption in active distributed systems with neg-ligible influence on their performance. Power management issues in distributed computing platforms can be categorized into four layers (see Figure 1.26): the application layer, middleware layer, resource layer, and network layer.


4.3 Application Layer

Until now, most user applications in science, business, engineering, and financial areas tend to increase a systems speed or quality. By introducing energy-aware applications, the challenge is to design sophisticated multilevel and multi-domain energy management applications without hurting performance. The first step toward this end is to explore a relationship between performance and energy consumption. Indeed, an applications energy consumption depends strongly on the number of instructions needed to execute the application and the number of transactions with the storage unit (or memory). These two factors (compute and storage) are correlated and they affect comple-tion time.



4.4 Middleware Layer


The middleware layer acts as a bridge between the application layer and the resource layer. This layer provides resource broker, communication service, task analyzer, task scheduler, security access, reliability control, and information service capabilities. It is also responsible for applying energy-efficient techniques, particularly in task scheduling. Until recently, scheduling was aimed at minimizing makespan, that is, the execution time of a set of tasks. Distributed computing systems necessitate a new cost function covering both makespan and energy consumption.


4.5 Resource Layer


The resource layer consists of a wide range of resources including computing nodes and storage units. This layer generally interacts with hardware devices and the operating system; therefore, it is responsible for controlling all distributed resources in distributed computing systems. In the recent past, several mechanisms have been developed for more efficient power management of hardware and operating systems. The majority of them are hardware approaches particularly for processors.


Dynamic power management (DPM) and dynamic voltage-frequency scaling (DVFS) are two popular methods incorporated into recent computer hardware systems [21]. In DPM, hardware devices, such as the CPU, have the capability to switch from idle mode to one or more lower-power modes. In DVFS, energy savings are achieved based on the fact that the power consumption in CMOS circuits has a direct relationship with frequency and the square of the voltage supply. Execution time and power consumption are controllable by switching among different frequencies and voltages [31].


4.6 Network Layer


Routing and transferring packets and enabling network services to the resource layer are the main responsibility of the network layer in distributed computing systems. The major challenge to build energy-efficient networks is, again, determining how to measure, predict, and create a balance between energy consumption and performance. Two major challenges to designing energy-efficient networks are:


    The models should represent the networks comprehensively as they should give a full understanding of interactions among time, space, and energy.

    New, energy-efficient routing algorithms need to be developed. New, energy-efficient protocols should be developed against network attacks.



As information resources drive economic and social development, data centers become increasingly important in terms of where the information items are stored and processed, and where ser-vices are provided. Data centers become another core infrastructure, just like the power grid and transportation systems. Traditional data centers suffer from high construction and operational costs, complex resource management, poor usability, low security and reliability, and huge energy consumption. It is necessary to adopt new technologies in next-generation data-center designs, a topic we will discuss in more detail in Chapter 4.


4.7 DVFS Method for Energy Efficiency


The DVFS method enables the exploitation of the slack time (idle time) typically incurred by inter-task relationship. Specifically, the slack time associated with a task is utilized to execute the task in a lower voltage frequency. The relationship between energy and voltage frequency in CMOS circuits is related by:

where v, Ceff, K, and vt are the voltage, circuit switching capacity, a technology dependent factor, and threshold voltage, respectively, and the parameter t is the execution time of the task under clock frequency f. By reducing voltage and frequency, the devices energy consumption can also be reduced.



Example 1.2 Energy Efficiency in Distributed Power Management


Figure 1.27 illustrates the DVFS method. This technique as shown on the right saves the energy compared to traditional practices shown on the left. The idea is to reduce the frequency and/or voltage during work-load slack time. The transition latencies between lower-power modes are very small. Thus energy is saved by switching between operational modes. Switching between low-power modes affects performance. Storage units must interact with the computing nodes to balance power consumption. According to Ge, Feng, and Cameron [21], the storage devices are responsible for about 27 percent of the total energy con-sumption in a data center. This figure increases rapidly due to a 60 percent increase in storage needs annually, making the situation even worse.

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