Cloud Control with Distributed Rate Limiting

Barath Raghavan, Kashi Vishwanath, Sriram Ramabhadran, Kenneth Yocum, and Alex C. Snoeren
Appears in: 
CCR October 2007

Today’s cloud-based services integrate globally distributed resources into seamless computing platforms. Provisioning and accounting for the resource usage of these Internet-scale applications presents a challenging technical problem. This paper presents the design and implementation of distributed rate limiters, which work together to enforce a global rate limit across traffic aggregates at multiple sites, enabling the coordinated policing of a cloud-based service’s network traffic. Our abstraction not only enforces a global limit, but also ensures that congestion-responsive transport-layer flows behave as if they traversed a single, shared limiter. We present two designs—one general purpose, and one optimized for TCP—that allow service operators to explicitly trade off between communication costs and system accuracy, efficiency, and scalability. Both designs are capable of rate limiting thousands of flows with negligible overhead (less than 3% in the tested configuration). We demonstrate that our TCP-centric design is scalable to hundreds of nodes while robust to both loss and communication delay, making it practical for deployment in nationwide service providers.