[occi-wg] Extraction of requirements

Richard Davies richard.davies at elastichosts.com
Thu Apr 30 10:22:49 CDT 2009

> Would be interesting to hear from either Richard or Chris does it add
> value to be able to declare vertical scaling rules a priori as well as
> having the ability to change parameters at runtime - another valuable
> piece of functionality in any IaaS interface.

Short answer - fixed parameters are generally sufficient in an IaaS API:

- For a single server, different technical aspects have very different
  scaling behaviours. With typical operating systems many of these changes
  (mem, cpu, disk) require a reboot, so there is no gain in defining scaling
  rules for those rather than having the user specify the new parameters
  when they reboot. Network is the exception, but is complex enough that I
  think we're looking at vendor extensions here.

- For multiple servers, there is scope to define scaling rules for all
  dimensions in terms of when additional server instances should be added.
  However, this is typically done above the IaaS API by management software
  such as RightScale.

> For a machine:
> - Set memory utilisation to 512MB but allow to grow to 1GB if demand
> exceeds minimum capacity

Very hard to implement with typical virtualization platforms and operating
systems - e.g. Windows would require a reboot to notice that additional
physical RAM is available.

In theory this could be implemented on a running server with something like
the KVM / VMware ESX balloon driver. In practise ElasticHosts and others do
not do this - users reboot their servers to change their total RAM.

> - Set number of CPUs to 2 but allow to grow to 4 if demand exceeds
> minimum capacity

Even harder to implement. I can't think of a common server OS which supports
changing the number of CPU cores at runtime without a reboot.

However, changing the priority of the virtual machine versus others on the
same virtualization host is practical whilst it is running, without any
modification or reboot of the contained OS.

> - Set disk space to 5GB but allow to grow to 10GB if demand exceeds
> minimum capacity

This would make sense if storage were provided in terms of a quota for
files, however we (and most other IaaS) provide "disks" - a block device
which the customer partitions and formats. Here again, an increase in
storage means repartitioning and hence typically a reboot.

> - Set network bandwidth to 10GB/s but allow to grow to 20GB/s if
> demand exceeds minimum capacity

This is the case in which vertical scaling rules are useful - if a customer
has bought a 10Mbps pipe with 50GB of transfer then what should happen when
their website is slashdotted?

ElasticHosts current algorithm is to always give all customers the maximum
available burst capacity (typically 100Mbps shared pipe), but to email
customers and then cut their link when they exceed their prepaid transfer

This isn't ideal, and I can easily imagine customers wanting to specify more
complicated rules (e.g. email when they hit 90% of transfer quota, then
throttle bandwidth for last 10%). Unfortunately the range of possible
policies is so great that I think we'll looking at vendor extensions rather
than the core API here.



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