Building Efficient Software to Support Content Delivery Services
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Many content delivery services use key components such as web servers, databases, and key-value stores to serve content over the Internet. These services, and their component systems, face unique modern challenges. Services now operate at massive scale, serving large files to wide user-bases. Additionally, resource contention is more prevalent than ever due to large file sizes, cloud-hosted and collocated services, and the use of resource-intensive features like content encryption. Existing systems have difficulty adapting to these challenges while still performing efficiently. For instance, streaming video web servers work well with small data, but struggle to service large, concurrent requests from disk. Our goal is to demonstrate how software can be augmented or replaced to help improve the performance and efficiency of select components of content delivery services. We first introduce Libception, a system designed to help improve disk throughput for web servers that process numerous concurrent disk requests for large content. By using serialization and aggressive prefetching, Libception improves the throughput of the Apache and nginx web servers by a factor of 2 on FreeBSD and 2.5 on Linux when serving HTTP streaming video content. Notably, this improvement is achieved without changing the source code of either web server. We additionally show that Libception's benefits translate into performance gains for other workloads, reducing the runtime of a microbenchmark using the diff utility by 50% (again without modifying the application's source code). We next implement Nessie, a distributed, RDMA-based, in-memory key-value store. Nessie decouples data from indexing metadata, and its protocol only consumes CPU on servers that initiate operations. This design makes Nessie resilient against CPU interference, allows it to perform well with large data values, and conserves energy during periods of non-peak load. We find that Nessie doubles throughput versus other approaches when CPU contention is introduced, and has 70% higher throughput when managing large data in write-oriented workloads. It also provides 41% power savings (over idle power consumption) versus other approaches when system load is at 20% of peak throughput. Finally, we develop RocketStreams, a framework which facilitates the dissemination of live streaming video. RocketStreams exposes an easy-to-use API to applications, obviating the need for services to manually implement complicated data management and networking code. RocketStreams' TCP-based dissemination compares favourably to an alternative solution, reducing CPU utilization on delivery nodes by 54% and increasing viewer throughput by 27% versus the Redis data store. Additionally, when RDMA-enabled hardware is available, RocketStreams provides RDMA-based dissemination which further increases overall performance, decreasing CPU utilization by 95% and increasing concurrent viewer throughput by 55% versus Redis.
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Benjamin Cassell (2019). Building Efficient Software to Support Content Delivery Services. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/14971