Department of Computer Science and Technology

Technical reports

Global public computing

Evangelos Kotsovinos

January 2005, 229 pages

This technical report is based on a dissertation submitted November 2004 by the author for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy to the University of Cambridge, Trinity Hall.

DOI: 10.48456/tr-615


High-bandwidth networking and cheap computing hardware are leading to a world in which the resources of one machine are available to groups of users beyond their immediate owner. This trend is visible in many different settings. Distributed computing, where applications are divided into parts that run on different machines for load distribution, geographical dispersion, or robustness, has recently found new fertile ground. Grid computing promises to provide a common framework for scheduling scientific computation and managing the associated large data sets. Proposals for utility computing envision a world in which businesses rent computing bandwidth in server farms on-demand instead of purchasing and maintaining servers themselves.

All such architectures target particular user and application groups or deployment scenarios, where simplifying assumptions can be made. They expect centralised ownership of resources, cooperative users, and applications that are well-behaved and compliant to a specific API or middleware. Members of the public who are not involved in Grid communities or wish to deploy out-of-the-box distributed services, such as game servers, have no means to acquire resources on large numbers of machines around the world to launch their tasks.

This dissertation proposes a new distributed computing paradigm, termed global public computing, which allows any user to run any code anywhere. Such platforms price computing resources, and ultimately charge users for resources consumed. This dissertation presents the design and implementation of the XenoServer Open Platform, putting this vision into practice. The efficiency and scalability of the developed mechanisms are demonstrated by experimental evaluation; the prototype platform allows the global-scale deployment of complex services in less than 45 seconds, and could scale to millions of concurrent sessions without presenting performance bottlenecks.

To facilitate global public computing, this work addresses several research challenges. It introduces reusable mechanisms for representing, advertising, and supporting the discovery of resources. To allow flexible and federated control of resource allocation by all stakeholders involved, it proposes a novel role-based resource management framework for expressing and combining distributed management policies. Furthermore, it implements effective service deployment models for launching distributed services on large numbers of machines around the world easily, quickly, and efficiently. To keep track of resource consumption and pass charges on to consumers, it devises an accounting and charging infrastructure.

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BibTeX record

  author =	 {Kotsovinos, Evangelos},
  title = 	 {{Global public computing}},
  year = 	 2005,
  month = 	 jan,
  url = 	 {},
  institution =  {University of Cambridge, Computer Laboratory},
  doi = 	 {10.48456/tr-615},
  number = 	 {UCAM-CL-TR-615}