Tom’s topic was “High Performance Data Center Operating Systems and Networks” – specifically, UW CSE’s new Arrakis data center operating system and F10/Subways approach to data center network configuration.
“Recent device hardware trends enable new approaches to the design of data center operating systems and networks, yielding substantial benefits for application performance. In a traditional operating system, the kernel mediates access to device hardware by server applications, to enforce process isolation as well as network and disk security. I will describe a new operating system, Arrakis, that splits the traditional role of the kernel in two. Applications have direct access to virtualized I/O devices, allowing most I/O operations to skip the kernel entirely, while the kernel is re-engineered to provide network and disk protection without kernel mediation in the common case. A consequence of Arrakis will be to intensify load on the data center network, which already suffers from frequent congestion events due to correlated traffic patterns. Another device trend is towards installing multiple network interfaces per server. Through coordinated wiring, routing, and load balancing, I will describe techniques that together dramatically decrease the frequency of congestion events and improve application performance.”
Tom’s slides are here (pdf).