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  1. The infinite capacity of cloud computing is an illusion: in reality, cloud providers cannot always have enough capacity of the right type, in the right place, at the right time to meet all demand. Consequently, cloud providers need to implement admission-control policies to ensure accepted capacity requests experience high availability. However, admission control in the public cloud is hard due to dynamic changes in both supply and demand: hardware might become unavailable, and actual VM consumption could vary for a variety of reasons including tenant scale-outs and fulfillment of VM reservations made by customers ahead of time. In this paper, we design and implement Kerveros, a flexible admission-control system that has three desired properties: i) high computational scalability to handle a large inventory, ii) accurate capacity provisioning for high VM availability, and iii) good packing efficiency to optimize resource usage. To achieve this, Kerveros uses novel bookkeeping techniques to quickly estimate the capacity available for incoming VM requests. Our system has been deployed in Microsoft Azure. Results from both simulations and production confirm that Kerveros achieves more than four nines of availability while sustaining request processing latencies of a few milliseconds. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2024
  2. Cloud computing has motivated renewed interest in resource allocation problems with new consumption models. A common goal is to share a resource, such as CPU or I/O bandwidth, among distinct users with different demand patterns as well as different quality of service requirements. To ensure these service requirements, cloud offerings often come with a service level agreement (SLA) between the provider and the users. A SLA specifies the amount of a resource a user is entitled to utilize. In many cloud settings, providers would like to operate resources at high utilization while simultaneously respecting individual SLAs. There is typically a trade-off between these two objectives; for example, utilization can be increased by shifting away resources from idle users to “scavenger” workload, but with the risk of the former then becoming active again. We study this fundamental tradeoff by formulating a resource allocation model that captures basic properties of cloud computing systems, including SLAs, highly limited feedback about the state of the system, and variable and unpredictable input sequences. Our main result is a simple and practical algorithm that achieves near-optimal performance on the above two objectives. First, we guarantee nearly optimal utilization of the resource even if compared with the omniscient offline dynamic optimum. Second, we simultaneously satisfy all individual SLAs up to a small error. The main algorithmic tool is a multiplicative weight update algorithm and a primal-dual argument to obtain its guarantees. We also provide numerical validation on real data to demonstrate the performance of our algorithm in practical applications. 
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