Thursday, January 9, 2014

Apache Mesos: Open Source Datacenter Computing

Virtual machines (VMs) have enjoyed a long history, from IBM’s CP–40 in the late 1960s on through the rise of VMware in the late 1990s. Widespread VM use nearly became synonymous with “cloud computing” by the late 2000s: public clouds, private clouds, hybrid clouds, etc. One firm, however, bucked the trend: Google.

Google’s datacenter computing leverages isolation in lieu of VMs. Public disclosure is limited, but the Omega paper from EuroSys 2013 provides a good overview. See also two YouTube videos: John Wilkes in 2011 GAFS Omega and Jeff Dean in Taming Latency Variability… For the business case, see an earlier Data blog post, that discusses how multi-tenancy and efficient utilization translates into improved ROI.

One takeaway is Google’s analysis of cluster traces from large Internet firms: while ~80% of the jobs are batch, ~80% of the resources get used for services. Another takeaway is Google’s categorization of cluster scheduling technology: monolithic versus two-level versus shared state. The first category characterizes Borg, which Google has used for several years. The third characterizes their R&D goals, a newer system called Omega.

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