System abstractions for resource scaling on heterogeneous platforms

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Gupta, Vishal
Schwan, Karsten
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The increasingly diverse nature of modern applications makes it critical for future systems to have dynamic resource scaling capabilities which enable them to adapt their resource usage to meet user requirements. Such mechanisms should be both fine-grained in nature for resource-efficient operation and also provide a high scaling range to support a variety of applications with diverse needs. To this end, heterogeneous platforms, consisting of components with varying characteristics, have been proposed to provide improved performance/efficiency than homogeneous configurations, by making it possible to execute applications on the most suitable component. However, introduction of such heterogeneous architectural components requires system software to embrace complexity associated with heterogeneity for managing them efficiently. Diversity across vendors and rapidly changing hardware make it difficult to incorporate heterogeneity-aware resource management mechanisms into mainstream systems, affecting the widespread adoption of these platforms. Addressing these issues, this dissertation presents novel abstractions and mechanisms for heterogeneous platforms which decouple heterogeneity from management operations by masking the differences due to heterogeneity from applications. By exporting a homogeneous interface over heterogeneous components, it proposes the scalable 'resource state' abstraction, allowing applications to express their resource requirements which then are dynamically and transparently mapped to heterogeneous resources underneath. The proposed approach is explored for both modern mobile devices where power is a key resource and for cloud computing environments where platform resource usage has monetary implications, resulting in HeteroMates and HeteroVisor solutions. In addition, it also highlights the need for hardware and system software to consider multiple resources together to obtain desirable gains from such scaling mechanisms. The solutions presented in this dissertation open ways for utilizing future heterogeneous platforms to provide on-demand performance, as well as resource-efficient operation, without disrupting the existing software stack.
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