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

Scalable Computing Over the Internet

1. The Age of Internet Computing 2. Scalable Computing Trends and New Paradigms 3. The Internet of Things and Cyber-Physical Systems



Over the past 60 years, computing technology has undergone a series of platform and environment changes. In this section, we assess evolutionary changes in machine architecture, operating system platform, network connectivity, and application workload. Instead of using a centralized computer to solve computational problems, a parallel and distributed computing system uses multiple computers to solve large-scale problems over the Internet. Thus, distributed computing becomes data-intensive and network-centric. This section identifies the applications of modern computer systems that practice parallel and distributed computing. These large-scale Internet applications have significantly enhanced the quality of life and information services in society today.


1. The Age of Internet Computing


Billions of people use the Internet every day. As a result, supercomputer sites and large data centers must provide high-performance computing services to huge numbers of Internet users concurrently. Because of this high demand, the Linpack Benchmark for high-performance computing (HPC) applications is no longer optimal for measuring system performance. The emergence of computing clouds instead demands high-throughput computing (HTC) systems built with parallel and distribu-ted computing technologies [5,6,19,25]. We have to upgrade data centers using fast servers, storage systems, and high-bandwidth networks. The purpose is to advance network-based computing and web services with the emerging new technologies.


1.1 The Platform Evolution


Computer technology has gone through five generations of development, with each generation lasting from 10 to 20 years. Successive generations are overlapped in about 10 years. For instance, from 1950 to 1970, a handful of mainframes, including the IBM 360 and CDC 6400, were built to satisfy the demands of large businesses and government organizations. From 1960 to 1980, lower-cost mini-computers such as the DEC PDP 11 and VAX Series became popular among small businesses and on college campuses.


From 1970 to 1990, we saw widespread use of personal computers built with VLSI microproces-sors. From 1980 to 2000, massive numbers of portable computers and pervasive devices appeared in both wired and wireless applications. Since 1990, the use of both HPC and HTC systems hidden in

clusters, grids, or Internet clouds has proliferated. These systems are employed by both consumers and high-end web-scale computing and information services.


The general computing trend is to leverage shared web resources and massive amounts of data over the Internet. Figure 1.1 illustrates the evolution of HPC and HTC systems. On the HPC side, supercomputers (massively parallel processors or MPPs) are gradually replaced by clusters of cooperative computers out of a desire to share computing resources. The cluster is often a collection of homogeneous compute nodes that are physically connected in close range to one another. We will discuss clusters, MPPs, and grid systems in more detail in Chapters 2 and 7.


On the HTC side, peer-to-peer (P2P) networks are formed for distributed file sharing and content delivery applications. A P2P system is built over many client machines (a concept we will discuss further in Chapter 5). Peer machines are globally distributed in nature. P2P, cloud computing, and web service platforms are more focused on HTC applications than on HPC appli-cations. Clustering and P2P technologies lead to the development of computational grids or data grids.



1.2 High-Performance Computing

For many years, HPC systems emphasize the raw speed performance. The speed of HPC systems has increased from Gflops in the early 1990s to now Pflops in 2010. This improvement was driven mainly by the demands from scientific, engineering, and manufacturing communities. For example, the Top 500 most powerful computer systems in the world are measured by floating-point speed in Linpack benchmark results. However, the number of supercomputer users is limited to less than 10% of all computer users. Today, the majority of computer users are using desktop computers or large servers when they conduct Internet searches and market-driven computing tasks.


1.3 High-Throughput Computing


The development of market-oriented high-end computing systems is undergoing a strategic change from an HPC paradigm to an HTC paradigm. This HTC paradigm pays more attention to high-flux computing. The main application for high-flux computing is in Internet searches and web services by millions or more users simultaneously. The performance goal thus shifts to measure high throughput or the number of tasks completed per unit of time. HTC technology needs to not only improve in terms of batch processing speed, but also address the acute problems of cost, energy savings, security, and reliability at many data and enterprise computing centers. This book will address both HPC and HTC systems to meet the demands of all computer users.


1.4 Three New Computing Paradigms


As Figure 1.1 illustrates, with the introduction of SOA, Web 2.0 services become available. Advances in virtualization make it possible to see the growth of Internet clouds as a new computing paradigm. The maturity of radio-frequency identification (RFID), Global Positioning System (GPS), and sensor technologies has triggered the development of the Internet of Things (IoT). These new paradigms are only briefly introduced here. We will study the details of SOA in Chapter 5; virtualization in Chapter 3; cloud computing in Chapters 4, 6, and 9; and the IoT along with cyber-physical systems (CPS) in Chapter 9.


When the Internet was introduced in 1969, Leonard Klienrock of UCLA declared: As of now, computer networks are still in their infancy, but as they grow up and become sophisticated, we will probably see the spread of computer utilities, which like present electric and telephone utilities, will service individual homes and offices across the country. Many people have redefined the term computersince that time. In 1984, John Gage of Sun Microsystems created the slogan,The net-work is the computer. In 2008, David Patterson of UC Berkeley said, The data center is the compu-ter. There are dramatic differences between developing software for millions to use as a service versus distributing software to run on their PCs. Recently, Rajkumar Buyya of Melbourne University simply said: The cloud is the computer.


This book covers clusters, MPPs, P2P networks, grids, clouds, web services, social networks, and the IoT. In fact, the differences among clusters, grids, P2P systems, and clouds may blur in the future. Some people view clouds as grids or clusters with modest changes through virtualization. Others feel the changes could be major, since clouds are anticipated to process huge data sets gener-ated by the traditional Internet, social networks, and the future IoT. In subsequent chapters, the distinctions and dependencies among all distributed and cloud systems models will become clearer and more transparent.


1.5 Computing Paradigm Distinctions

The high-technology community has argued for many years about the precise definitions of centralized computing, parallel computing, distributed computing, and cloud computing. In general,


distributed computing is the opposite of centralized computing. The field of parallel computing overlaps with distributed computing to a great extent, and cloud computing overlaps with distributed, centralized, and parallel computing. The following list defines these terms more clearly; their architec-tural and operational differences are discussed further in subsequent chapters.


    Centralized computing This is a computing paradigm by which all computer resources are centralized in one physical system. All resources (processors, memory, and storage) are fully shared and tightly coupled within one integrated OS. Many data centers and supercomputers are centralized systems, but they are used in parallel, distributed, and cloud computing applications [18,26].


    Parallel computing In parallel computing, all processors are either tightly coupled with centralized shared memory or loosely coupled with distributed memory. Some authors refer to this discipline as parallel processing [15,27]. Interprocessor communication is accomplished through shared memory or via message passing. A computer system capable of parallel computing is commonly known as a parallel computer [28]. Programs running in a parallel computer are called parallel programs. The process of writing parallel programs is often referred to as parallel programming [32].


    Distributed computing This is a field of computer science/engineering that studies distributed systems. A distributed system [8,13,37,46] consists of multiple autonomous computers, each having its own private memory, communicating through a computer network. Information exchange in a distributed system is accomplished through message passing. A computer program that runs in a distributed system is known as a distributed program. The process of writing distributed programs is referred to as distributed programming.


    Cloud computing An Internet cloud of resources can be either a centralized or a distributed computing system. The cloud applies parallel or distributed computing, or both. Clouds can be built with physical or virtualized resources over large data centers that are centralized or distributed. Some authors consider cloud computing to be a form of utility computing or service computing [11,19].


As an alternative to the preceding terms, some in the high-tech community prefer the term con-current computing or concurrent programming. These terms typically refer to the union of parallel computing and distributing computing, although biased practitioners may interpret them differently. Ubiquitous computing refers to computing with pervasive devices at any place and time using wired or wireless communication. The Internet of Things (IoT) is a networked connection of everyday objects including computers, sensors, humans, etc. The IoT is supported by Internet clouds to achieve ubiquitous computing with any object at any place and time. Finally, the term Internet computing is even broader and covers all computing paradigms over the Internet. This book covers all the aforementioned computing paradigms, placing more emphasis on distributed and cloud com-puting and their working systems, including the clusters, grids, P2P, and cloud systems.


1.6 Distributed System Families


Since the mid-1990s, technologies for building P2P networks and networks of clusters have been consolidated into many national projects designed to establish wide area computing infrastructures, known as computational grids or data grids. Recently, we have witnessed a surge in interest in exploring Internet cloud resources for data-intensive applications. Internet clouds are the result of moving desktop computing to service-oriented computing using server clusters and huge databases at data centers. This chapter introduces the basics of various parallel and distributed families. Grids and clouds are disparity systems that place great emphasis on resource sharing in hardware, software, and data sets.


Design theory, enabling technologies, and case studies of these massively distributed systems are also covered in this book. Massively distributed systems are intended to exploit a high degree of parallelism or concurrency among many machines. In October 2010, the highest performing cluster machine was built in China with 86016 CPU processor cores and 3,211,264 GPU cores in a Tianhe-1A system. The largest computational grid connects up to hundreds of server clus-ters. A typical P2P network may involve millions of client machines working simultaneously. Experimental cloud computing clusters have been built with thousands of processing nodes. We devote the material in Chapters 4 through 6 to cloud computing. Case studies of HTC systems will be examined in Chapters 4 and 9, including data centers, social networks, and virtualized cloud platforms


In the future, both HPC and HTC systems will demand multicore or many-core processors that can handle large numbers of computing threads per core. Both HPC and HTC systems emphasize parallelism and distributed computing. Future HPC and HTC systems must be able to satisfy this huge demand in computing power in terms of throughput, efficiency, scalability, and reliability. The system efficiency is decided by speed, programming, and energy factors (i.e., throughput per watt of energy consumed). Meeting these goals requires to yield the following design objectives:


    Efficiency measures the utilization rate of resources in an execution model by exploiting massive parallelism in HPC. For HTC, efficiency is more closely related to job throughput, data access, storage, and power efficiency.


    Dependability measures the reliability and self-management from the chip to the system and application levels. The purpose is to provide high-throughput service with Quality of Service (QoS) assurance, even under failure conditions.


    Adaptation in the programming model measures the ability to support billions of job requests over massive data sets and virtualized cloud resources under various workload and service models.


    Flexibility in application deployment measures the ability of distributed systems to run well in both HPC (science and engineering) and HTC (business) applications.


2. Scalable Computing Trends and New Paradigms


Several predictable trends in technology are known to drive computing applications. In fact, designers and programmers want to predict the technological capabilities of future systems. For instance, Jim Grays paper, Rules of Thumb in Data Engineering, is an excellent example of how technology affects applications and vice versa. In addition, Moores law indicates that processor speed doubles every 18 months. Although Moores law has been proven valid over the last 30 years, it is difficult to say whether it will continue to be true in the future.


Gilders law indicates that network bandwidth has doubled each year in the past. Will that trend continue in the future? The tremendous price/performance ratio of commodity hardware was driven by the desktop, notebook, and tablet computing markets. This has also driven the adoption and use of commodity technologies in large-scale computing. We will discuss the future of these computing trends in more detail in subsequent chapters. For now, its important to understand how distributed systems emphasize both resource distribution and concurrency or high degree of parallelism (DoP). Lets review the degrees of parallelism before we discuss the special requirements for distributed computing.


2.1 Degrees of Parallelism


Fifty years ago, when hardware was bulky and expensive, most computers were designed in a bit-serial fashion. In this scenario, bit-level parallelism (BLP) converts bit-serial processing to word-level processing gradually. Over the years, users graduated from 4-bit microprocessors to 8-, 16-, 32-, and 64-bit CPUs. This led us to the next wave of improvement, known as instruction-level parallelism (ILP), in which the processor executes multiple instructions simultaneously rather than only one instruction at a time. For the past 30 years, we have practiced ILP through pipelining, super-scalar computing, VLIW (very long instruction word) architectures, and multithreading. ILP requires branch prediction, dynamic scheduling, speculation, and compiler support to work efficiently.


Data-level parallelism (DLP) was made popular through SIMD (single instruction, multiple data) and vector machines using vector or array types of instructions. DLP requires even more hard-ware support and compiler assistance to work properly. Ever since the introduction of multicore processors and chip multiprocessors (CMPs), we have been exploring task-level parallelism (TLP). A modern processor explores all of the aforementioned parallelism types. In fact, BLP, ILP, and DLP are well supported by advances in hardware and compilers. However, TLP is far from being very successful due to difficulty in programming and compilation of code for efficient execution on multicore CMPs. As we move from parallel processing to distributed processing, we will see an increase in computing granularity to job-level parallelism (JLP). It is fair to say that coarse-grain parallelism is built on top of fine-grain parallelism.


2.2 Innovative Applications


Both HPC and HTC systems desire transparency in many application aspects. For example, data access, resource allocation, process location, concurrency in execution, job replication, and failure recovery should be made transparent to both users and system management. Table 1.1 highlights a few key applications that have driven the development of parallel and distributed systems over the

years. These applications spread across many important domains in science, engineering, business, education, health care, traffic control, Internet and web services, military, and government applications.


Almost all applications demand computing economics, web-scale data collection, system reliability, and scalable performance. For example, distributed transaction processing is often prac-ticed in the banking and finance industry. Transactions represent 90 percent of the existing market for reliable banking systems. Users must deal with multiple database servers in distributed transactions. Maintaining the consistency of replicated transaction records is crucial in real-time banking services. Other complications include lack of software support, network saturation, and security threats in these applications. We will study applications and software support in more detail in subsequent chapters.


2.3 The Trend toward Utility Computing


Figure 1.2 identifies major computing paradigms to facilitate the study of distributed systems and their applications. These paradigms share some common characteristics. First, they are all ubiquitous in daily life. Reliability and scalability are two major design objectives in these computing models. Second, they are aimed at autonomic operations that can be self-organized to support dynamic dis-covery. Finally, these paradigms are composable with QoS and SLAs (service-level agreements). These paradigms and their attributes realize the computer utility vision.


Utility computing focuses on a business model in which customers receive computing resources from a paid service provider. All grid/cloud platforms are regarded as utility service providers. However, cloud computing offers a broader concept than utility computing. Distributed cloud applications run on any available servers in some edge networks. Major technological challenges include all aspects of computer science and engineering. For example, users demand new network-efficient processors, scalable memory and storage schemes, distributed OSes, middleware for machine virtualization, new programming models, effective resource management, and application

program development. These hardware and software supports are necessary to build distributed systems that explore massive parallelism at all processing levels.


2.4 The Hype Cycle of New Technologies


Any new and emerging computing and information technology may go through a hype cycle, as illustrated in Figure 1.3. This cycle shows the expectations for the technology at five different stages. The expectations rise sharply from the trigger period to a high peak of inflated expectations. Through a short period of disillusionment, the expectation may drop to a valley and then increase steadily over a long enlightenment period to a plateau of productivity. The number of years for an emerging technology to reach a certain stage is marked by special symbols. The hollow circles indicate technologies that will reach mainstream adoption in two years. The gray circles represent technologies that will reach mainstream adoption in two to five years. The solid circles represent those that require five to 10 years to reach mainstream adoption, and the triangles denote those that require more than 10 years. The crossed circles represent technologies that will become obsolete before they reach the plateau.


The hype cycle in Figure 1.3 shows the technology status as of August 2010. For example, at that time consumer-generated media was at the disillusionment stage, and it was predicted to take less than two years to reach its plateau of adoption. Internet micropayment systems were forecast to take two to five years to move from the enlightenment stage to maturity. It was believed that 3D printing would take five to 10 years to move from the rising expectation stage to mainstream adop-tion, and mesh network sensors were expected to take more than 10 years to move from the inflated expectation stage to a plateau of mainstream adoption.


Also as shown in Figure 1.3, the cloud technology had just crossed the peak of the expectation stage in 2010, and it was expected to take two to five more years to reach the productivity stage. However, broadband over power line technology was expected to become obsolete before leaving the valley of disillusionment stage in 2010. Many additional technologies (denoted by dark circles in Figure 1.3) were at their peak expectation stage in August 2010, and they were expected to take five to 10 years to reach their plateau of success. Once a technology begins to climb the slope of enlightenment, it may reach the productivity plateau within two to five years. Among these promis-ing technologies are the clouds, biometric authentication, interactive TV, speech recognition, predictive analytics, and media tablets.


3. The Internet of Things and Cyber-Physical Systems


In this section, we will discuss two Internet development trends: the Internet of Things [48] and cyber-physical systems. These evolutionary trends emphasize the extension of the Internet to every-day objects. We will only cover the basics of these concepts here; we will discuss them in more detail in Chapter 9.


3.1 The Internet of Things


The traditional Internet connects machines to machines or web pages to web pages. The concept of the IoT was introduced in 1999 at MIT [40]. The IoT refers to the networked interconnection of everyday objects, tools, devices, or computers. One can view the IoT as a wireless network of sen-sors that interconnect all things in our daily life. These things can be large or small and they vary with respect to time and place. The idea is to tag every object using RFID or a related sensor or electronic technology such as GPS.

Hype Cycle Disclaimer


The Hype Cycle is copyrighted 2010 by Gartner, Inc. and its affiliates and is reused with permission. Hype Cycles are graphical representations of the relative maturity of technologies, IT methodologies and management disciplines. They are intended solely as a research tool, and not as a specific guide to action. Gartner disclaims all warranties, express or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.


This Hype Cycle graphic was published by Gartner, Inc. as part of a larger research note and should be evaluated in the context of the entire report. The Gartner report is available at http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=1447613.


(Source: Gartner Press Release “Gartner’s 2010 Hype Cycle Special Report Evaluates Maturity of 1,800 Technologies” 7 October 2010.)


With the introduction of the IPv6 protocol, 2128 IP addresses are available to distinguish all the objects on Earth, including all computers and pervasive devices. The IoT researchers have estimated that every human being will be surrounded by 1,000 to 5,000 objects. The IoT needs to be designed to track 100 trillion static or moving objects simultaneously. The IoT demands universal addressa-bility of all of the objects or things. To reduce the complexity of identification, search, and storage, one can set the threshold to filter out fine-grain objects. The IoT obviously extends the Internet and is more heavily developed in Asia and European countries.


In the IoT era, all objects and devices are instrumented, interconnected, and interacted with each other intelligently. This communication can be made between people and things or among the things themselves. Three communication patterns co-exist: namely H2H (human-to-human), H2T (human-to-thing), and T2T (thing-to-thing). Here things include machines such as PCs and mobile phones. The idea here is to connect things (including human and machine objects) at any time and any place intelligently with low cost. Any place connections include at the PC, indoor (away from PC), outdoors, and on the move. Any time connections include daytime, night, outdoors and indoors, and on the move as well.


The dynamic connections will grow exponentially into a new dynamic network of networks, called the Internet of Things (IoT). The IoT is still in its infancy stage of development. Many proto-type IoTs with restricted areas of coverage are under experimentation at the time of this writing. Cloud computing researchers expect to use the cloud and future Internet technologies to support fast, efficient, and intelligent interactions among humans, machines, and any objects on Earth. A smart Earth should have intelligent cities, clean water, efficient power, convenient transportation, good food supplies, responsible banks, fast telecommunications, green IT, better schools, good health care, abundant resources, and so on. This dream living environment may take some time to reach fruition at different parts of the world.


3.2 Cyber-Physical Systems


A cyber-physical system (CPS) is the result of interaction between computational processes and the physical world. A CPS integrates cyber (heterogeneous, asynchronous) with physical (concur-rent and information-dense) objects. A CPS merges the 3C technologies of computation, commu-nication, and control into an intelligent closed feedback system between the physical world and the information world, a concept which is actively explored in the United States. The IoT emphasizes various networking connections among physical objects, while the CPS emphasizes exploration of virtual reality (VR) applications in the physical world. We may transform how we interact with the physical world just like the Internet transformed how we interact with the virtual world. We will study IoT, CPS, and their relationship to cloud computing in Chapter 9.

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