TSINGHUA SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGYISSNl l1007-0214 l l06 /10 l lpp51-64Volume 19, Number 1, February 2014
On Peer-Assisted Data Dissemination in Data Center Networks:Analysis and Implementation
Yaxiong Zhao, Jie Wu, and Cong Liu
Abstract: Data Center Networks (DCNs) are the fundamental infrastructure for cloud computing. Driven by the
massive parallel computing tasks in cloud computing, one-to-many data dissemination becomes one of the most
important traffic patterns in DCNs. Many architectures and protocols are proposed to meet this demand. However,
these proposals either require complicated configurations on switches and servers, or cannot deliver an optimal
performance. In this paper, we propose the peer-assisted data dissemination for DCNs. This approach utilizes
the rich physical connections with high bandwidths and mutli-path connections, to facilitate efficient one-to-many
data dissemination. We prove that an optimal P2P data dissemination schedule exists for FatTree, a specially-
designed DCN architecture. We then present a theoretical analysis of this algorithm in the general multi-rooted tree
topology, a widely-used DCN architecture. Additionally, we explore the performance of an intuitive line structure
for data dissemination. Our analysis and experimental results prove that this simple structure is able to produce a
comparable performance to the optimal algorithm. Since DCN applications heavily rely on virtualization to achieve
optimal resource sharing, we present a general implementation method for the proposed algorithms, which aims to
mitigate the impact of the potentially-high churn rate of the virtual machines.
Key words: data center networks; cloud computing; P2P; scheduling; peer-assisted data dissemination
Cloud computing has become an transformationalindustry trend. Data Center Networks (DCNs), as thefundamental infrastructures of cloud computing, aregaining tremendous interest both in industrial andacademic research. Many important and interestingnetworking problems are studied. Among all of thesetopics, we notice that one is frequently mentioned ordirectly considered in a large body of literature, that is,
Yaxiong Zhao is with Google Inc., Mountain View, CA94043, USA. This work was done while the author was withTemple University, Philadelphia, PA 19122, USA. E-mail:email@example.com. Jie Wu is with Temple University, Philadelphia, PA 19122,
USA. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.Cong Liu is with Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou 510275,
China. E-mail: email@example.com.To whom correspondence should be addressed.
Manuscript received: 2013-12-13; accepted: 2013-12-20
the support of efficient one-to-many data disseminationin DCNs. One-to-many data dissemination refers todelivering a bulk of data from a single sourceto multiple, and potentially a large amount ofreceivers. This problem is important because: (1) thistraffic pattern is common in many important DCNapplications, like software update and data shuffleof massively-parallel computing; (2) historically,supporting such traffic efficiently is hard, as isembodied in the Internet multicast problem. Thesetwo driving factors are discussed in various recentworks[3-6].
There are proposals that solve the problem throughan architectural approach, i.e., design new DCNarchitectures that provide better multicast support. Forinstance, in BCube, DCell, and CamCube, theauthors explicitly demonstrated that their architectureadmits natively-supported efficient multicast. Couplingwith the careful protocol designs, efficient multicast is
52 Tsinghua Science and Technology, February 2014, 19(1): 51-64
achieved, as shown in the prototype implementationand simulation studies of these papers. However,we notice that such systems put routing taskson commodity servers, which results in extendedprocessing delay[6, 7]. What is worse is that, theconfiguration of such systems is more complicatedthan the conventional DCNs. Although an automaticnetwork configuration algorithm is proposed, itseffectiveness has not yet been validated in large-scaledeployment.
Another line of research is the software approach,which aims to alter the Internet multicast protocoland make it work better in DCNs. This methodprovides heuristics based on the rich multi-pathconnections in DCNs. It needs to alter the protocolstack implementation that resides inside the OperatingSystem (OS) kernel. This approach lacks support fromthe existing industry standard, and the reliability of theapproach has not been verified.
It is difficult for these two approaches to provideefficient one-to-many data dissemination in a cost-effective manner. We thus consider leaving theexisting standards intact and employing applicationlayer overlay technologies. However, the applicationlayer overlay technology has only been used inwide area networks. Its performance in a highlyperformance-demanding environment, like DCN, is stillin question. To make such a design a viable choice forDCNs, we must achieve the following goals, ranked onthe basis of priority: (1) high performance, (2) highfault-tolerance, and (3) low complexity.
In this paper, we avoid the architectural approachand focus on widely-used DCN architectures: FatTreeand Multi-Rooted Tree (MRT). We propose thatthe peer-assisted transmission can be used for one-to-many data dissemination in DCNs. This techniqueis able to utilize the rich connections in DCNs toprovide fast data delivery. Figure 1 illustrates thisidea. In the figure, the source distributes the data todifferent servers, and the servers exchange data betweeneach other to accelerate the dissemination speed. This
Fig. 1 The one-to-many communication scenario in a DCN.
approach is efficient. As an example, a recent industrialexperience of using BitTorrent to do softwareupdates in a large DCN (thousands of servers) indicatesthat, although BitTorrent is designed for wide areanetworks and misses many key properties of DCNs, itachieves a speed-up of more than 75 compared withthe conventional Client/Server approach.
In this paper, we conduct theoretical analyses andshow that an optimal solution exists for FatTree, aspecially-designed DCN topology. Additionally, thefact that most DCNs do not follow the particular designmakes its use limited in practice. We then slack theconstraints on the network topology and focus on theMRT topology. We show that in the single-chunk case,there is an optimal scheduling that can be found inpolynomial time. We then present a method to apply theoptimal algorithm in MRTs by utilizing the structuralproperty of MRTs.
However, this solution may not scale well inpractice, since it requires a central scheduler that hasa global view of all peers. Inspired by an existingindustrial initiative, we explore the effectiveness ofa simple line structure, i.e., a line of peers that areconnected sequentially. In the first look, this designrestricts the potential of P2P transmission and cannotachieve optimal throughput. However, in real worldapplications, software failures, instead of the optimalityof the algorithm, are more likely to kill the performance.
Our contributions in this paper are as follows: We conduct thorough theoretical analyses on
peer-assisted data dissemination for DCNs. We givean optimal scheduling method for the FatTreetopology. We also present a method for adapting theoptimal algorithm to work for general MRTs. We propose a simple line-structure-based data
dissemination scheme. We analyze several structuremanipulation primitives for this structure. We give the detailed design and implementation
techniques for applying the proposed algorithms. Wealso evaluate the performance of the proposed algorithmby using simulation studies.
2 Related Work
Many novel data center network topologies andarchitectures have been designed[6, 7, 10, 12, 13]. InRef. , the authors promote using the FatTree
structure as the DCN topology. FatTree uses onlyhomogeneous Commodity-Off-The-Shelf (COTS)switches and delivers non-blocking bisection bandwidth
Yaxiong Zhao et al.: On Peer-Assisted Data Dissemination in Data Center Networks: Analysis and Implementation 53
between all servers. FatTree can be seen as a specialinstance of MRT. Both are the targeted topologiesof this paper. Server-centric DCNs[6-8] equip everyserver with multiple Network Interfaces Cards (NICs)and let them do routing. Such architectures still useswitches, but they enable more flexible and complexcommunication patterns than conventional architecturesdo. One-to-many communication is made practical inthese architectures. A serious disadvantage is that therouting and forwarding performance of servers are nomatch to COTS switches. In practice, implementingsuch a system is much more difficult.
The authors in Ref.  studied the topology-awareP2P file distribution problem on general topology. Theproblem is essentially a generalized version of ourproblem and is NP-hard. The most important differenceis that they assume non-equal link capacities, whichcause non-equal upload capacities and an extremelycomplicated combinatorial structure for deciding theupload capacity of chunk transfer. The approximatesolution proposed in the paper is too complicated to beused in practice.
The scheduling of P2P data dissemination in anoverlay network with non-equal upload capacities wasstudied in Ref. . Our theoretical analysis on theoptimal solution for data dissemination in the FatTreetopology is based on the work in Ref. , whichstudies the optimal scheduling of P2P file disseminationin a complete graph. Murder is a P2P softwareupdating tool implemented by Twitter Inc. Murder usesBitTorrent for P2P tran