Automated Management of Virtual Database Appliances

_Principal Investigators:_
Ashraf Aboulnaga, Assistant Professor
Kenneth Salem, Associate Professor
David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science, University of Waterloo

Background: Virtualization is a powerful tool for managing computing resources. It supports resource consolidation, allowing multiple applications to share pooled computing resources and thereby improving resource utilizations and reducing costs. A virtual database appliance packages a database management system (DBMS) in a virtual machine. Such appliances provide a convenient mechanism for deploying and managing database services running on an underlying consolidated resource pool.
The appliance model is flexible and powerful, but appliances still require configuration, tuning and operational management. The focus of our work is to automate these tasks, simplifying the management of the underlying computing infrastructure and the appliance-based services that it supports. Appliances must be configured for a particular workload prior to deployment. During operation, appliances can be tuned and managed to achieve quality-of-service targets in the face of workload fluctuations and changes in the underlying computing infrastructure. Tuning an appliance involves tuning both the virtual machine and the database management system that is running in it.

Objectives: The goal for this project is to investigate techniques for automatic configuration and tuning of virtual database appliances. We also seek to embody those techniques in DBMSes, in virtual machine monitors, or in supplemental tools, as appropriate. Near-term goals of our work include characterizing the performance overhead of virtualization, and the development of techniques for the initial configuration of virtual database appliances. In the longer term, we expect to focus on dynamic tuning and configuration of appliances. In configuring and tuning appliances, our goal is to jointly tune both the DBMS and the virtual machine in which it runs. For example, we will exploit DBMS-specific knowledge to perform configuration and resource allocation at the virtual machine level, and we seek to develop mechanisms to allow the DBMS to react to changes in its virtual execution environment. In this project we will also focus on techniques for improving performance by enhancing the interface between application software, such as DBMS, and the virtualized environment. For example, we plan to consider enhanced APIs for interacting with virtualized storage and for improving the flow of information between applications and virtual machine monitors.

Potential benefit to Ontario: Computer-based service systems are the heart of the modern enterprise, both for its internal communications and for its interface to the public. Planned and managed performance is increasingly essential; performance disasters are a serious threat. The cooperating companies will have access to technology which has already shown its capability for purposes of system management (autonomic control). This will result in enhanced and more competitive products from the IT industry, enhanced performance and, thus, productivity of information systems run by organizations in industry, government and services (e.g. health, academe).

_Other Projects_

  • Fine-grained Resource Management and Problem Detection in Dynamic Content Servers
  • Semantically Configurable Modelling Notations and Tools
  • Model Management for Continuously Evolving Systems
  • Modeling, Evolution, and Automated Configuration of Software Services
  • Elaborating and Evaluating UMLís 3-Layer Semantics Architecture
  • Intelligent Autonomic Computing for Computational Biology
  • Performance Management of IT Infrastructure
  • Performance-Model-Assisted Creation and Management of Service Systems
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    Topic revision: r3 - 2007-12-01 - JimmyHuang
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