Reducing Processor Usage on Heavily-Loaded Network Servers with POSIX Real-Time Scheduling Control

Eiji KAWAI  Youki KADOBAYASHI  Suguru YAMAGUCHI  

Publication
IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Information and Systems   Vol.E88-D   No.6   pp.1168-1177
Publication Date: 2005/06/01
Online ISSN: 
DOI: 10.1093/ietisy/e88-d.6.1168
Print ISSN: 0916-8532
Type of Manuscript: PAPER
Category: System Programs
Keyword: 
polling I/O,  POSIX real-time scheduling,  interval control,  processor utilization,  network programming,  

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Summary: 
Polling I/O mechanisms on the Unix platform such as select() and poll() cause high processing overhead when they are used in a heavily-loaded network server with many concurrent open sockets. Large waste of processing power incurs not only service degradation but also various troubles such as high electronic power consumption and worsened MTBF of server hosts. It is thus a serious issue especially in large-scale service providers such as an Internet data center (iDC) where a great number of heavily-loaded network servers are operated. As a solution of this problem, we propose a technique of fine-grained control on the invocation intervals of the polling I/O function. The uniqueness of this study is the utilization of POSIX real-time scheduling to enable the fine-grained execution control. Although earlier solutions such as an explicit event delivery mechanism also addressed the problem, they require major modification in the OS kernel and transition from the traditional polling I/O model to the new explicit event-notification model. On the other hand, our technique can be implemented with low cost because it just inserts a few small blocks of codes into the server program and does not require any modification in the OS kernel.