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The ADvanced Systems Laboratory (ADSL)
Publication abstract

Evolving RPC For Active Storage

Muthian Sivathanu, Andrea C. Arpaci-Dusseau, Remzi H. Arpaci-Dusseau
Department of Computer Sciences , University of Wisconsin-Madison
{muthian, dusseau, remzi}@cs.wisc.edu


We introduce Scriptable RPC (SRPC), an RPC-based framework that enables distributed system services to take advantage of active components. Technology trends point to a world where each component in a system (whether disk, network interface, or memory) has substantial computational capabilities; however, traditional methods of building distributed services are not designed to take advantage of these new architectures, mandating wholesale change of the software base to exploit more powerful hardware. In contrast, SRPC provides a direct and simple migration path for traditional services into the active environment. We demonstrate the power and flexibility of the SRPC framework through a series of case studies, with a focus on active storage servers. Specifically, we find three advantages to our approach. First, SRPC improves the performance of distributed file servers, reducing latency by combining the execution of operations at the file server. Second, SRPC enables the ready addition of new functionality; for example, more powerful cache consistency models can be realized on top of a server that exports a simple NFS-like interface. Third, SRPC simplifies the construction of distributed services; operations that are difficult to coordinate across client and server can now be co-executed at the server, thus avoiding costly agreement and crash-recovery protocols.

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