Modelling and Improving Group Communication in Server Operating Systems

Michael Kwok, Tim Brecht, Martin Karsten, and Jialin Song

In recent years, applications that provide a distributed virtual environment (DVE) have become increasingly popular. Many DVE implementations use a client-server architecture that requires the server to send the same data to all members of a collaborating or interacting group. This type of group communication operation is often implemented by sending data from the server to each recipient in a unicast fashion. The problem with this approach is that the cost of communication at the server does not scale very well with the number of participants because the application requires significant interaction with the operating system, network stack and drivers for each individual send. In this paper, we first propose a general analytic framework for predicting how group communication performance impacts DVE server capacity. We then conduct an experimental evaluation to determine the extent to which using a kernel-based group communication mechanism reduces the cost of group send operations. Lastly, we use the measurements obtained from these experiments to demonstrate how to apply the analytic framework by determining the extent to which the kernel-based group communication mechanism permits example applications to scale to more users.

MASCOTS 2006 - IEEE International Symposium on Modeling, Analysis, and Simulation of Computer and Telecommunication Systems

Paper (preprint) (DOI)
Presentation Slides

Important Copyright Notice:

This material is presented to ensure timely dissemination of scholarly and technical work. Copyright and all rights therein are retained by authors or by other copyright holders. All persons copying this information are expected to adhere to the terms and constraints invoked by each author's copyright. In most cases, these works may not be reposted without the explicit permission of the copyright holder.