Optimal Service Elasticity in Large-Scale Distributed Systems

Debankur Mukherjee, Souvik Dhara, Sem Borst, Johan S. H. van Leeuwaarden

A fundamental challenge in large-scale cloud networks and data centers is to achieve highly efficient server utilization and limit energy consumption, while providing excellent user-perceived performance in the presence of uncertain and time-varying demand patterns. Auto-scaling provides a popular paradigm for automatically adjusting service capacity in response to demand while meeting performance targets, and queue-driven auto-scaling techniques have been widely investigated in the literature. In typical data center architectures and cloud environments however, no centralized queue is maintained, and load balancing algorithms immediately distribute incoming tasks among parallel queues. In these distributed settings with vast numbers of servers, centralized queue-driven auto-scaling techniques involve a substantial communication overhead and major implementation burden, or may not even be viable at all. Motivated by the above issues, we propose a joint auto-scaling and load balancing scheme which does not require any global queue length information or explicit knowledge of system parameters, and yet provides provably near-optimal service elasticity. We establish the fluid-level dynamics for the proposed scheme in a regime where the total traffic volume and nominal service capacity grow large in proportion. The fluid-limit results show that the proposed scheme achieves asymptotic optimality in terms of user-perceived delay performance as well as energy consumption. Specifically, we prove that both the waiting time of tasks and the relative energy portion consumed by idle servers vanish in the limit. At the same time, the proposed scheme operates in a distributed fashion and involves only constant communication overhead per task, thus ensuring scalability in massive data center operations.

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