|By Mark Sandstrom||
|February 18, 2013 08:00 AM EST||
Improving application program performance will require parallelizing the program execution at ever finer granularity now that the processor clock rates are no longer increasing. However, even in a per-application dedicated computing environment, the parallelization overhead is known to place a limit on how much application on-time throughput performance increase can be achieved via higher levels of parallel processing. The throughput-limiting impact of parallelization overhead will be significantly amplified when executing multiple internally parallelized applications on dynamically shared cloud computing environment, since the allocation of processing resources to instances and tasks of any given application cannot be done in isolation, but instead it needs to be done collectively across all the applications dynamically sharing the given pool of computing resources. There thus is an urgent need to solve this complex challenge of developing internally parallelized programs for dynamic execution on shared cloud computing infrastructure, if we expect to be able scale the performance and capacity of cloud hosted applications going forward.
PaaS Approach for Parallel Cloud Computing Challenges
The Need for Cross-layer Optimized Platform
For effectiveness of a parallel cloud computing platform, what is essential is how well the platform elements perform together, rather than individually. Consequently, the complex, interleaved challenges of parallel cloud application development and execution cannot be solved by any single layer or element of traditional computing architectures alone. Instead, a comprehensive, cross-layer optimized platform architecture is needed.
This new platform architecture will involve a parallel program development environment for producing application executables based on actors that can be efficiently mapped for concurrent execution on processing cores of dynamically shared manycore arrays. In addition, the parallel cloud computing platform will need an execution environment that, besides executing the program instructions on processing cores, takes care of the dynamic parallel execution routines on behalf of the applications, so that the processing cores are used for executing the actual client programs instead of system functions. If the hardware of the manycore processor fabric did not handle the parallel execution routines, eventually the system would be just managing itself rather than providing increased user application throughput as the numbers of processing cores and applications and tasks sharing them are scaled up. This difference in enabling application on-time throughput scalability is illustrated at Figures 4 and 5 (in Ch. 3 Architectural Advantages of Cross-layer Optimized Parallel Computing PaaS).
The Platform Architecture
Figure 1 below illustrates the overall architecture of the envisioned open parallel program development and execution platform as a service (PaaS).
Figure 1: Overview of the parallel cloud computing PaaS
As illustrated in Figure 1, the open parallel computing PaaS has an open-sourced parallel program development environment and a dynamic parallel execution environment. The development environment allows the platform users to produce executables of their application programs that are made of segments (tasks/actors/threads) that can execute concurrently on parallel (incl. pipelined) processing cores. The execution environment provides, besides an array of processing cores for parallel execution of the user program tasks, the capabilities to dynamically map the highest-priority ready application task instances for execution on their assigned cores. While the state (e.g. which application task instance is mapped to any given core of the shared resource pool at any given time) of the execution environment is highly dynamic during the application runtime, in the platform architecture per Figure 1, the execution environment provides for the application programs (and their developers) a virtual static view of it; any given application can assume that each of its task instances is always active and mapped to a virtual static core in an array that is virtually dedicated to that single application. The hardware automated parallel processing runtime routines of the execution environment per Figure 1 hide (to the desired level) the dynamic details of the processing hardware from the applications as well as the development environment software, thereby providing a higher level, simplified abstraction of the execution environment for the software. The raised level of the software-hardware interface per Figure 1 enables greater productivity for both realizing the much needed open, comprehensive parallel programming environment as well as for developing parallelized applications for cloud deployment, as software does not need to be concerned of the dynamic parallel execution details.
Importantly, there is the need to coordinate the various development activities concerning parallel programming and cloud computing tools etc. base technologies (e.g. languages, compilers, parallel file systems, data bases, etc.) around a common overall framework so that the individual technology elements work efficiently together, to enable high productivity development of parallelized applications for cloud deployment. ThroughPuter proposes that the elevated level of the interface to the parallel execution environment per the platform architecture of Figure 1 provides a compelling motive for why the software technology development activities for parallel cloud computing should be based on this execution environment model. More specifically, the major reasons for software ecosystem for parallel computing platform to be based on the dynamic parallel execution environment interface standard per figure include:
- Greater productivity through less low-level work: The execution environment in the platform architecture per Figure 1 automates dynamic parallel execution routines in (programmable) hardware, providing higher level application development interface for the software of the PaaS.
- Higher performance and scalability via eliminating system software overhead by hardware automation of system tasks such as optimally allocating processing core capacity, scheduling and placing application tasks for execution, inter-task communications, billing etc.
- Built-in cloud computing security from the hardware level up: unauthorized interactions between different applications simply not enabled in the hardware.
- Open source software and open standard interface between development and execution environment: users have full freedom to choose where to host the development environment as well as the parallelized application executables produced by it. Any execution environment implementation complying to the simple, open execution environment interface standard per Figure 1 is a possible hosting option so there is nothing vendor specific about this platform architecture, and users will not suffer from vendor lock-in.
Application software developers access the envisioned open parallel cloud computing PaaS through its Integrated Development Environment (IDE) to build application software optimized for parallel processing on dynamically shared cloud processors. The IDE provides a web-based program flow chart, code advisor, profiler etc. (GUI) tools to assist and automate parallelizing the users' programs. The IDE also includes the automated back-end development tool chain, incl. compiler, linker and loader programs, for building and executing the user's parallelized application in a processing hardware complying to the discussed execution environment interface standard per Figure 1. The IDE further equips the user application programs with the system software that automates and optimizes the minimal (to none) interactions between the user programs and the hardware operating system of the dynamic parallel execution environment of the parallel cloud computing PaaS.
The IDE software can be hosted with the same parallel computing PaaS as the applications it produces. This practice avoids the need for cross-compiling, and enables straightforward and rapid-cycle interactive testing, debugging and optimization of the parallelized application programs, as well as deployment and scaling releases of the user applications.
The software of the parallel cloud computing PaaS is developed and made fully available as an open-source project, and can be integrated with popular open-source IDEs. In essence, this software project is to add the parallel programming development tools to the major open source IDE and PaaS code bases, while utilizing (and further developing) the applicable existing features from them.
The openness of the promoted comprehensive parallel cloud computing PaaS, besides the open-source IDE, is also manifested via the simple, open standard interface between the development and execution environments of the PaaS architecture. This open standard interface enables any user to host the IDE as well as the parallel program executables produced by it anywhere, e.g. at the user premises, or with ThroughPuter or any 3rd party. Alternative I/PaaS providers furthermore are encouraged to support the execution/development environment interface via their respective implementations of either side or both sides of that interface. The customizable, open-source IDE and open-standard interface to the execution environment provides the users and collaborators a flexible and productive way to approach the major, must-solve parallel cloud application development and execution challenge that is facing much of the software industry and its customers.
The efficient dynamic parallel processing features - which will be critically needed as user application throughput requirements begin exceeding what is available from conventional sequential execution models, and as the parallelized applications will be cloud hosted -- of this open-source software based PaaS are delivered by an execution environment that provides the necessary, dynamic parallel execution core to application task instance allocation, task instance to core assignment, and inter-task communication capabilities. These critical parallel execution capabilities are an integrated feature in the ThroughPuter hosted commercial PaaS offering.
For reference on ThroughPuter's implementation of the dynamic parallel execution environment for the open parallel computing PaaS architecture per Figure 1, the below Figure 2 shows ThroughPuter's realtime application load adaptive manycore processor architecture, highlighting its hardware logic automated operating system functionality enabling a number of customer application programs to securely, dynamically and cost-efficiently share the processing capacity of the manycore processor hardware.
Figure 2: Reference diagram for ThroughPuter manycore processors with hardware-automated multi-user parallel processing optimized operating system.
ThroughPuter's hardware operating system, manycore fabric memory and I/O subsystems are largely responsible for the architectural security, performance and cost-efficiency benefits of the ThroughPuter PaaS. However, the IDE hides the actual execution environment features from the user; the user does not need to be aware of the novel hardware-implemented capabilities of this dynamic parallel execution environment in order to realize the performance benefits.
A possible core to application task/instance allocation scenario over a few core allocation periods (CAPs) is illustrated in Figure 3 below, along with associated highlights of the feature benefits.
Figure 3: Dynamic core to application task instance assignment scenario in the execution environment of the PaaS per Figure 1.
In reference to the dynamic core assignment scenario per Figure 3, it shall be remembered that in the PaaS architecture per Figure 1, the software does not need to be aware of the dynamic parallel execution matters, but can instead maintain a virtual static view of the execution environment where each possible application task instance is constantly mapped to its virtual dedicated core, thus simplifying both the development environment as well as the application software while improving the development productivity and runtime performance.
Architectural Advantages of Cross-layer Optimized Parallel Computing PaaS
The platform model presented here is crucial for enabling application on-time throughput performance scalability in the age of parallel cloud computing, as illustrated in Figures 4 and 5.
Figure 4: Scalability problem in parallel cloud computing due to the system software overhead.
As illustrated in Figure 4, when relying on system software for managing the parallel execution, there is a limit to scalability of cloud computing platforms in the parallel processing era, as application performance improvement begins requiring ever finer grades of intra-application parallelism (i.e. more tasks and task instances per application). This is due to that the parallel processing system software overhead (the need to dynamically coordinate and manage concurrent tasks and parallel processing resources) increases with the number of applications as well as their tasks and instances, and the number of processing cores being dynamically shared among them. When relying on system software to handle parallel execution routines, the processing capacity of a given manycore processor (array) is split between processing user applications and system software, with the rate of system software increasing with scale, at the expense of the user applications. This causes that after some point, the system-wide application processing on-time throughput (the product of number of cores and the percentage of the cores' processing capacity available for user applications) will begin decreasing as the system is scaled up (by adding processing cores and parallelized applications and their tasks sharing the cores).
To solve this fundamental challenge affecting the scalability of cloud computing in the parallel processing era, the processing hardware needs to raise up to this challenge and handle the parallel processing routines in the hardware of the manycore processors, so that the processing cores will be optimally used for processing the user applications (rather than for processing the system functions, and/or be locked to low utilization due to non-load-adaptive allocation).
The impact of the hardware automation of the parallel processing system functions in the hardware of manycore processors per Figures 1-3 is illustrated in Figure 5 below.
Figure 5: Scalability solution for parallel cloud computing delivered via automating the parallel execution system functions in hardware.
The enabling of scalability of cloud computing platforms and cloud applications' on-time processing throughput in the emerging era of (inter and intra) application parallel processing by the execution environment model per Figure 1 serves as a further compelling reason for concentrating the efforts to address the popular parallel programming challenge via the herein presented open parallel cloud computing platform model. Parties interested in collaboration to realize this much needed comprehensive, open source parallel cloud computing platform can contact ThroughPuter via [email protected].
Relevant further material on the parallel program development and execution challenges is available at:
- Stanford University Pervasive Parallelism Laboratory
- UDel Computer Architecture and Parallel Systems Laboratory
- ThroughPuter's technology page
- These include: monitoring application processing load demands, periodically allocating processing resources (cores) among the applications based on their processing load variations and contractual entitlements, prioritizing and selecting application task instances for execution, mapping selected task instances for execution on their assigned cores and accordingly configuring the IO and memory access subsystems, arranging the inter task communications, plus contract billing based on applications' resource entitlement and usage.
- These interactions are mainly limited to the application program, via the PaaS tool-generated system software, providing to the hardware operating system of the execution environment (per Figure 1) a listing of its schedulable tasks/instances in their priority order; there is very little overhead in interacting with such hardware operating system. Where applicable, the hardware operating system of the PaaS is able to deduce the processing core demands and task/instance priority orders of the applications by itself by monitoring the input processing data load levels for the applications. This feature, where employed for a given application (or task group), will effectively eliminate all the parallelization system software overhead for the given application (task group).
Leysin American School is an exclusive, private boarding school located in Leysin, Switzerland. Leysin selected an OpenStack-powered, private cloud as a service to manage multiple applications and provide development environments for students across the institution. Seeking to meet rigid data sovereignty and data integrity requirements while offering flexible, on-demand cloud resources to users, Leysin identified OpenStack as the clear choice to round out the school's cloud strategy. Additional...
Nov. 23, 2014 08:00 AM EST Reads: 1,251
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com...
Nov. 23, 2014 07:45 AM EST Reads: 1,356
We are all here because we are sold on the transformative promise of The Cloud. But what good is all of this ephemeral, on-demand infrastructure if your usage doesn't actually improve the agility and speed of your business? How must Operations adapt in order to avoid stifling your Cloud initiative? In his session at DevOps Summit, Damon Edwards, co-founder and managing partner of the DTO Solutions, will highlight the successful organizational, process, and tooling patterns of high-performing c...
Nov. 23, 2014 02:00 AM EST Reads: 1,044
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from ha...
Nov. 22, 2014 10:00 PM EST Reads: 1,142
Software-driven innovation is becoming a primary approach to how businesses create and deliver new value to customers. A survey of 400 business and IT executives by the IBM Institute for Business Value showed businesses that are more effective at software delivery are also more profitable than their peers nearly 70 percent of the time (1). DevOps provides a way for businesses to remain competitive, applying lean and agile principles to software development to speed the delivery of software that ...
Nov. 22, 2014 08:00 PM EST Reads: 1,451
Docker offers a new, lightweight approach to application portability. Applications are shipped using a common container format and managed with a high-level API. Their processes run within isolated namespaces that abstract the operating environment independently of the distribution, versions, network setup, and other details of this environment. This "containerization" has often been nicknamed "the new virtualization." But containers are more than lightweight virtual machines. Beyond their small...
Nov. 22, 2014 06:45 PM EST Reads: 1,200
The move in recent years to cloud computing services and architectures has added significant pace to the application development and deployment environment. When enterprise IT can spin up large computing instances in just minutes, developers can also design and deploy in small time frames that were unimaginable a few years ago. The consequent move toward lean, agile, and fast development leads to the need for the development and operations sides to work very closely together. Thus, DevOps become...
Nov. 22, 2014 05:45 PM EST Reads: 1,321
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.
Nov. 22, 2014 05:30 PM EST Reads: 1,321
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and asse...
Nov. 22, 2014 05:30 PM EST Reads: 1,148
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Ar...
Nov. 21, 2014 09:15 PM EST Reads: 1,280
Technology is enabling a new approach to collecting and using data. This approach, commonly referred to as the "Internet of Things" (IoT), enables businesses to use real-time data from all sorts of things including machines, devices and sensors to make better decisions, improve customer service, and lower the risk in the creation of new revenue opportunities. In his General Session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Dave Wagstaff, Vice President and Chief Architect at BSQUARE Corporation, discuss the ...
Nov. 21, 2014 08:00 PM EST Reads: 1,353
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, a...
Nov. 21, 2014 08:00 PM EST Reads: 1,300
"BSQUARE is in the business of selling software solutions for smart connected devices. It's obvious that IoT has moved from being a technology to being a fundamental part of business, and in the last 18 months people have said let's figure out how to do it and let's put some focus on it, " explained Dave Wagstaff, VP & Chief Architect, at BSQUARE Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Nov. 21, 2014 07:00 PM EST Reads: 1,231
The 4th International DevOps Summit, co-located with16th International Cloud Expo – being held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY – announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's large...
Nov. 21, 2014 06:45 PM EST Reads: 1,190
Verizon Enterprise Solutions is simplifying the cloud-purchasing experience for its clients, with the launch of Verizon Cloud Marketplace, a key foundational component of the company's robust ecosystem of enterprise-class technologies. The online storefront will initially feature pre-built cloud-based services from AppDynamics, Hitachi Data Systems, Juniper Networks, PfSense and Tervela. Available globally to enterprises using Verizon Cloud, Verizon Cloud Marketplace provides a one-stop shop fo...
Nov. 21, 2014 05:30 PM EST Reads: 1,154
"Our premise is Docker is not enough. That's not a bad thing - we actually love Docker. At ActiveState all our products are based on open source technology and Docker is an up-and-coming piece of open source technology," explained Bart Copeland, President & CEO of ActiveState Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Nov. 20, 2014 10:30 PM EST Reads: 1,287
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete...
Nov. 20, 2014 09:00 PM EST Reads: 1,476
What do a firewall and a fortress have in common? They are no longer strong enough to protect the valuables housed inside. Like the walls of an old fortress, the cracks in the firewall are allowing the bad guys to slip in - unannounced and unnoticed. By the time these thieves get in, the damage is already done and the network is already compromised. Intellectual property is easily slipped out the back door leaving no trace of forced entry. If we want to reign in on these cybercriminals, it's hig...
Nov. 20, 2014 07:00 PM EST Reads: 1,160
Infor has announced a new feature Infor CloudSuite™ Aerospace & Defense (A&D) to aid compliance with International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). The ITAR function will serve as a complementary function for new or existing Infor CloudSuite A&D customers, to facilitate compliance for Infor customers that are creating a US defense article or performing a US defense service and wish to benefit from cloud-services. The ITAR regulation serves to manage handling and access requirements for dat...
Nov. 20, 2014 07:00 PM EST Reads: 1,294