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  1. Large-scale enterprise computing systems are growing rapidly, to address the increasing demand for data processing; however, in many cases, the computing resources in a single data center may not be sufficient for critical data-centric workloads, and important factors, such as space limitations, power availability, or company policies, limit the possibilities of expanding the data center's resources. In this paper, we explore the potential of harvesting spare computing resources across geo-distributed data centers with fast fabric interconnection for real-world enterprise applications. We specifically characterize the computing resource utilization of four large-scale production data centers, and we show how to efficiently combine local storage and computing clusters with remote and elastic computation resources. The primary challenge is incorporating the available remote computing resources efficiently. To achieve this goal, we propose leveraging the capabilities of Kubernetes-based elastic computing clusters to utilize the spare computing resources across geo-distributed data centers for Big Data applications. We also provide an experimental performance evaluation based on real-use case scenarios via an empirical execution and a simulation, which shows that the proposed system can accelerate Big Data services by employing existing computing resources more efficiently across geo-distributed data centers. 
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  2. The performance of modern Big Data frameworks, e.g. Spark, depends greatly on high-speed storage and shuffling, which impose a significant memory burden on production data centers. In many production situations, the persistence and shuffling intensive applications can suffer a major performance loss due to lack of memory. Thus, the common practice is usually to over-allocate the memory assigned to the data workers for production applications, which in turn reduces overall resource utilization. One efficient way to address the dilemma between the performance and cost efficiency of Big Data applications is through data center computing resource disaggregation. This paper proposes and implements a system that incorporates the Spark Big Data framework with a novel in-memory distributed file system to achieve memory disaggregation for data persistence and shuffling. We address the challenge of optimizing performance at affordable cost by co-designing the proposed in-memory distributed file system with large-volume DIMM-based persistent memory (PMEM) and RDMA technology. The disaggregation design allows each part of the system to be scaled independently, which is particularly suitable for cloud deployments. The proposed system is evaluated in a production-level cluster using real enterprise-level Spark production applications. The results of an empirical evaluation show that the system can achieve up to a 3.5- fold performance improvement for shuffle-intensive applications with the same amount of memory, compared to the default Spark setup. Moreover, by leveraging PMEM, we demonstrate that our system can effectively increase the memory capacity of the computing cluster with affordable cost, with a reasonable execution time overhead with respect to using local DRAM only. 
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  3. As in-memory data analytics become increasingly important in a wide range of domains, the ability to develop large-scale and sustainable platforms faces significant challenges related to storage latency and memory size constraints. These challenges can be resolved by adopting new and effective formulations and novel architectures such as software-defined infrastructure. This paper investigates the key issue of data persistency for in-memory processing systems by evaluating persistence methods using different storage and memory devices for Apache Spark and the use of Alluxio. It also proposes and evaluates via simulation a Spark execution model for using disaggregated off- rack memory and non-volatile memory targeting next-generation software-defined infrastructure. Experimental results provide better understanding of behaviors and requirements for improving data persistence in current in-memory systems and provide data points to better understand requirements and design choices for next-generation software-defined infrastructure. The findings indicate that in-memory processing systems can benefit from ongoing software-defined infrastructure implementations; however current frameworks need to be enhanced appropriately to run efficiently at scale. 
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  4. As data analytics applications become increasingly important in a wide range of domains, the ability to develop large-scale and sustainable platforms and software infrastructure to support these applications has significant potential to drive research and innovation in both science and business domains. This paper characterizes performance and power-related behavior trends and tradeoffs of the two predominant frameworks for Big Data analytics (i.e., Apache Hadoop and Spark) for a range of representative applications. It also evaluates system design knobs, such as storage and network technologies and power capping techniques. Experimental results from empirical executions provide meaningful data points for exploring the potential of software-defined infrastructure for Big Data processing systems through simulation. The results provide better understanding of the design space to build multi-criteria application-centric models as well as show significant advantages of software-defined infrastructure in terms of execution time, energy and cost. It motivates further research focused on in-memory processing formulations regarding systems with deeper memory hierarchies and software-defined infrastructure. 
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