Title: Applications and Network in Data Centers: Friends or Foes?

Abstract: Since the early days of networks, a basic principle has been that applications treat the network as a black box. An application injects a packet with a destination address and the network delivers the packet. This principle has served us well, and has enabled the Internet to scale to billions of devices using networks owned by competing companies and running applications developed by different parties. However, this approach might not be optimal for large-scale Internet data centers, such as those run by Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Facebook, in which all the components are controlled by a single entity.

In this talk, I will describe two examples where a richer interaction between applications and network is beneficial for both. First, I will briefly overview our recent research in the context of providing applications with predictable performance in multi-tenant data centers. Then, I will describe more extensively CamCube, a recent project in collaboration with Microsoft Research, in which, we have been looking at a different approach to build data centers, borrowing ideas from the fields of high performance parallel computing, distributed systems and networking. We use a direct-connect topology, similar to those used in HPC, and a novel networking stack, which supports a key-based routing functionality. By providing applications with a more fine-grained control on network resources, CamCube enables increasing performance and reducing development complexity and cluster costs. I will describe and motivate its peculiar design choices and then discuss a number of services that we implemented on CamCube. These include a MapReduce service that provides significant higher performance than existing solutions running on traditional clusters.

Bio: Paolo Costa holds an Imperial’s fellowship at the Department of Computing of Imperial College London. Before joining Imperial, he spent 2.5 years in the Systems and Networking Group of the Microsoft Research Lab in Cambridge. Prior to that, he was a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Computer Systems group at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Paolo holds a M. Sc. and Ph.D. degree in Computer Engineering from the Politecnico di Milano, received, respectively, in 2002 and 2006.

Where: INRIA Rennes – Salle Sardaigne, Batiment 12 F, Campus de Beaulieu

When: On Wed 08-02-2012, at 2pm (until 3pm)

Organized by: ASAP Team – INRIA Rennes

Please confirm your presence by sending an email to: davide.frey@inria.fr