This is the first day of the Usenix Annual Technical conference June 2016, held in Denver, Colorado, USA.
Specifically, the "HotStorage" and "HotCloud" events were held over the first two days of the conference.
As each presentation was delivered by a single researcher, only this main presenter is referenced in the below text. The links to the Usenix conference page provide more information as well as copies of the papers submitted for the conference.
Session 1 looked at cloud spot pricing strategies, limitations and some possible approaches for improvements both for consumers and providers.
How not to bid in the cloud
Prateek Sharma - University of Massachusetts Amherst
This workshop looked at the consumption of cloud services using supply/demand driven pricing strategies. The focus seems to be consumption (i.e. how to consume efficiently) rather than perhaps how the pricing is set etc.
Transient servers in the cloud - spot instances are suitable for cost effective compute which is not delay latency sensitive
Many complex bidding strategies have been proposed, to optimize cost whilst maintining availability.
Prateek's paper has looked at spot pricing across multiple regions, AZs etc, plus multiple instance types/sizes
- At the cheap end, Availability is consistently high but not 100%
- There is no penalty for high bid prices, you only pay the spot price, not your bid price
Mean time between revocations
- No matter how high your bid, you will not avoid revocations
- Price spikes are normally far too high to simply bid high to maintain availability
Revocation gap between different regions
- Some analysis has been done on the crossover between revocation timing between regions/AZs, however there sin't much predictability to this (when comparing the same type of compute).
How about sharing statistical data - If everyone was to look at patterns then follow the same advice to optimise cloud, won't this simply saturate the available environments?
The uptake is probably low so not a problem yet. If however this is published and widely consumed (particularly in APIs etc) it could become more of a challenge.
Follower vs trend-setter, if people come up with their own algorithms/logic for spreading across independent cloud zones they will be OK, but if they simply follow other advice (which others will too) they are more likely to see saturation.
Spot price characteristics are set by internal supply and demand within AWS, factors such as
- total resources available
- consumed on-demand EC2 resources
- consumes reserved instances
- consumed spot instances
- maintenance of AWS infrastructure
Overall observations based on their data:
- 90% of bids yield availability, cost and MBTR which are near-optimal.
Quality of consumption in the cloud
Eric Keller - University of Colorado
QOS on Services in the cloud include
- Response time
- Packet loss rate
A lot of effort has gone into defining and measuring these.
There are two sides to performance metrics
- The provider's perspective
- The consumer's perspective
The provider sets these QOS metrics based on affordability, differentiation, ease-of-measurement, security, etc
Two main types of consumers
- stable, predictable, etc
- unpredictable, unpatched, bursty performance etc
Quality of Consumption (QoX) - measurement of how effectively consumers use cloud
Why would cloud providers care?
- Concern about attacks on a cloud platform
- Optimisation based on common usage patterns
- Perhaps if a certain consumer / workload is more prone to attacks, these workloads could be moved to more conservative/protected infrastructure.
- competitive advantage
They could track consumers using a credit-rating type of approach. For instance, consumers could
Security & privacy around sharing usage data is a concern. If this is available to consumers, it could be used to exploit known vulnerable environments (e.g. if you can determine which zones/infrastructure contain vulnerable environments, you could reverse engineer them and attack in a more targetted fashion)
Another avenue - SaaS providers (between a rock and a hard place). How do they consume cloud infrastructure and also protect against excessive usage of components such as internal IO (e.g. network from one instance to another within the same cloud)
Cloud Spot Markets are not sustainable
Supreeth Subramanya - University of Massachusetts Amherst
Mature commodity spot markets are inherently volatile and unpredictable.
Compute compared to all other commodities is stateful. There is always an overhead for this, whether
- losing data
- implementing high availability
- implementing a deployment methodology to overcome stateful requisites
Presenter's conclusion that as the cloud spot markets mature, the value of the resources decrease.
Volatility of spot markets decrease (the market stabilises) as each spot market becomes more deprecated. Older instance types perhaps more reliable (but less efficient).
Spot priced products aren't the leading offering from cloud providers, therefore the cloud providers may not want to implement features to make spot easier to consume than reserved instances.
My own concerns here
Overall I'm somewhat concerned however, that the future seems to align more with guaranteeing infrastructure availability rather than encouraging application developers to expect outages. One approach which was mentioned was to introduce regular consistency point flushing into the applications (e.g. writing to a distributed consistent stateful data platform) - perhaps combined with triggers of a pending spin-down (e.g. 30 second warning should trigger a consistency point to be written then prevent further writes).
Feeding the pelican - using archive hard drives for cold storage
Austin Donnelly, Microsoft
The Pelican was a rack of the cheapest & most dense storage - 1152 disk drives with 2 x servers controlling them.
(the previous Pelicantechnical paper can be found here https://www.usenix.org/conference/osdi14/technical-sessions/presentation/balakrishnan )
This platform is classed as cold storage. Most drives are not active at any given time, only about 8% (drives spun-up on-demand). This ensured that power was not exceeded for the rack.
Cold storage is typically written once and read rarely (probably never again).
Drive lifetime measured in TB per year. The most risk in head issues (e.g. dust etc) is when the head is actually reading / writing. Thermal expansion is used to fly the head closer to the disk platter surface to read/write. When it is idle, the head is further away to prevent damage.
Therefore TB per year looks at how much time the head ahs been close to the disk platter.
Pelican looks at several factors
- reliability of drives (failure rates etc)
- Spin up time
- Spin down time
- Power draw (inrush and ongoing) above standby
- This also looks at power differences between standby, spinup, normal operation, spin-down
These drives are performing around
- 100,000 spin-ups per year.
- 60TB IO per year
- 250 Powered On hours per year
Drive failures vs temperature
The warmer drives don't fail as regularly as the cooler drives
- The Pelican drives are seeing higher humidity. Warmer drives burn off the humidity
- Dust in the environment may also be related
Failure rate is below 4% per year (in line with industry normals)
Failure rates are MUCH lower for the first 1 year of life compared to normal drives. Then it becomes around the same as industry normal.
RAID is not suitable for Pelican (cold storage) as it would require any drives to be online to complete a write commit to disk
Archive drives are effective and reliable storage
Temperature and humidity are major factors in failure rates
regular spin up / down does not decrease drive life.
Data Management Approach for SMR
plus Fenggang Wu
Evaluating host-aware SMR storage
(Very cool diagram.)
Shingled Magnetic Recording Storage achieves high density storage using narrow tracks which partially overwrite adjacent tracks.
Traditional drives use PMR (Parallel Magnetic Recording), however this has faced increasing issues with scalability.
Generally SMR is only useful in sequential archive storage.
Random writes must first be buffered, to convert the errant write pattern to sequential. The metadata used to manage the media cache differs across drive types:
- Host-Managed SMR
- Host-Aware SMR
- Drive-Managed SMR
The conclusion from today's discussions was that Host-Aware SMR provides the best overall benefits for handling metadata related to random writes.
Non-sequential writes are still worse than sequential due to garbage collection - flushing the Media Cache. This can then become a blocking factor preventing further writes from occurring whilst GC finishes.
Workload analysis with SSD in mind -
Gala Yadgar - Israel Institute of Technology
Workloads inspire optimisations of media. Disks are designed with specific workloads in mind.
Some key SSD characteristics:
- read/write quickly
- erase (garbage collection) slowly
- limited lifetime
Flash - partition by temperature (access patterns) to minimise write amplification
Application specific optimisation for NVMe SSDs
Hyeong-Jun Kim, Sungkyunkwan University
Latency of different storage types
- HDD = 10s of milliseconds
- NAND = 10s of microsections
- 3D XPoint = 10s of nanoseconds
- DRAM = naoseconds
IO flows through the following layers
- Request queue
- SAS Driver
This stack is being optimised. Lower latencies present opportunities to minimise layers such as queueing.
Optimising the kernel
- can't implement any policy which favours a certain application
Previous optimisations included direct access to storage devices (raw PV access etc)
One proposed approach is similar to solarflare onload, but for storage. Use a driver to bypass kernel and allow an application to directly access the storage.
One Use case where significant improvements have been seed include redis, lots of very small writes.
Observed performance increase was 15% more IOPs and about 13% less latency
Still very infant but some good opportunities for development and adoption in write-latency sensitive workloads, as well as optimising / replacing memcache.