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  1. Serverless computing enables a new way of building and scaling cloud applications by allowing developers to write fine-grained serverless or cloud functions. The execution duration of a cloud function is typically short---ranging from a few milliseconds to hundreds of seconds. However, due to resource contentions caused by public clouds' deep consolidation, the function execution duration may get significantly prolonged and fail to accurately account for the function's true resource usage. We observe that the function duration can be highly unpredictable with huge amplification of more than 50× for an open-source FaaS platform (OpenLambda). Our experiments show that the OS scheduling policy of cloud functions' host server can have a crucial impact on performance. The default Linux scheduler, CFS (Completely Fair Scheduler), being oblivious to workloads, frequently context-switches short functions, causing a turnaround time that is much longer than their service time. We propose SFS (Smart Function Scheduler), which works entirely in the user space and carefully orchestrates existing Linux FIFO and CFS schedulers to approximate Shortest Remaining Time First (SRTF). SFS uses two-level scheduling that seamlessly combines a new FILTER policy with Linux CFS, to trade off increased duration of long functions for significant performance improvement for short functions. Wemore »implement SFS in the Linux user space and port it to OpenLambda. Evaluation results show that SFS significantly improves short functions' duration with a small impact on relatively longer functions, compared to CFS.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 13, 2023
  2. Federated learning (FL) involves training a model over massive distributed devices, while keeping the training data localized and private. This form of collaborative learning exposes new tradeoffs among model convergence speed, model accuracy, balance across clients, and communication cost, with new challenges including: (1) straggler problem—where clients lag due to data or (computing and network) resource heterogeneity, and (2) communication bottleneck—where a large number of clients communicate their local updates to a central server and bottleneck the server. Many existing FL methods focus on optimizing along only one single dimension of the tradeoff space. Existing solutions use asynchronous model updating or tiering-based, synchronous mechanisms to tackle the straggler problem. However, asynchronous methods can easily create a communication bottleneck, while tiering may introduce biases that favor faster tiers with shorter response latencies. To address these issues, we present FedAT, a novel Federated learning system with Asynchronous Tiers under Non-i.i.d. training data. FedAT synergistically combines synchronous, intra-tier training and asynchronous, cross-tier training. By bridging the synchronous and asynchronous training through tiering, FedAT minimizes the straggler effect with improved convergence speed and test accuracy. FedAT uses a straggler-aware, weighted aggregation heuristic to steer and balance the training across clients for further accuracy improvement.more »FedAT compresses uplink and downlink communications using an efficient, polyline-encoding-based compression algorithm, which minimizes the communication cost. Results show that FedAT improves the prediction performance by up to 21.09% and reduces the communication cost by up to 8.5×, compared to state-of-the-art FL methods.« less
  3. Containerization is becoming increasingly popular, but unfortunately, containers often fail to deliver the anticipated performance with the allocated resources. In this paper, we first demonstrate the performance variance and degradation are significant (by up to 5x) in a multi-tenant environment where containers are co-located. We then investigate the root cause of such performance degradation. Contrary to the common belief that such degradation is caused by resource contention and interference, we find that there is a gap between the amount of CPU a container reserves and actually gets. The root cause lies in the design choices of today's Linux scheduling mechanism, which we call Forced Runqueue Sharing and Phantom CPU Time. In fact, there are fundamental conflicts between the need to reserve CPU resources and Completely Fair Scheduler's work-conserving nature, and this contradiction prevents a container from fully utilizing its requested CPU resources. As a proof-of-concept, we implement a new resource configuration mechanism atop the widely used Kubernetes and Linux to demonstrate its potential benefits and shed light on future scheduler redesign. Our proof-of-concept, compared to the existing scheduler, improves the performance of both batch and interactive containerized apps by up to 5.6x and 13.7x.
  4. Serverless computing, or Function-as-a-Service (FaaS), enables a new way of building and scaling applications by allowing users to deploy fine-grained functions while providing fully-managed resource provisioning and auto-scaling. Custom FaaS container support is gaining traction as it enables better control over OSes, versioning, and tooling for modernizing FaaS applications. However, providing rapid container provisioning introduces non-trivial challenges for FaaS providers, since container provisioning is costly, and real-world FaaS workloads exhibit highly dynamic patterns. In this paper, we design FaaSNet, a highly-scalable middleware system for accelerating FaaS container provisioning. FaaSNet is driven by the workload and infrastructure requirements of the FaaS platform at one of the world's largest cloud providers, Alibaba Cloud Function Compute. FaaSNet enables scalable container provisioning via a lightweight, adaptive function tree (FT) structure. FaaSNet uses an I/O efficient, on-demand fetching mechanism to further reduce provisioning costs at scale. We implement and integrate FaaSNet in Alibaba Cloud Function Compute. Evaluation results show that FaaSNet: (1) finishes provisioning 2,500 function containers on 1,000 virtual machines in 8.3 seconds, (2) scales 13.4× and 16.3× faster than Alibaba Cloud's current FaaS platform and a state-of-the-art P2P container registry (Kraken), respectively, and (3) sustains a bursty workload using 75.2% less time thanmore »an optimized baseline.« less
  5. Executing complex, burst-parallel, directed acyclic graph (DAG) jobs poses a major challenge for serverless execution frameworks, which will need to rapidly scale and schedule tasks at high throughput, while minimizing data movement across tasks. We demonstrate that, for serverless parallel computations, decentralized scheduling enables scheduling to be distributed across Lambda executors that can schedule tasks in parallel, and brings multiple benefits, including enhanced data locality, reduced network I/Os, automatic resource elasticity, and improved cost effectiveness. We describe the implementation and deployment of our new serverless parallel framework, called Wukong, on AWS Lambda. We show that Wukong achieves near-ideal scalability, executes parallel computation jobs up to 68.17X faster, reduces network I/O by multiple orders of magnitude, and achieves 92.96% tenant-side cost savings compared to numpywren.