Experiment case study

Peer-to-Peer live streaming service

“Today, video streaming systems constitute a considerable percentage of the internet traffic which according to Cisco will exceed 90% of the globally consumed Internet traffic by 2015.”

The challenge
Media Distribution Systems, also known as Content Delivery Networks (CDNs), increasingly generate the vast majority of Internet traffic so their architecture and delivery mechanisms will have great impact in the design of the future internet. The initial solution for streaming media objects over Internet was the client-server architecture. Each user communicates with a media distribution server and each media object is streamed from the media server with a bit-rate greater than or equal to the playback rate of the media object. However this solution has a lot disadvantages, mainly its high cost of operations and its poor scaling properties. A more sophisticated approach is peer-to-peer media distribution in which users not only download media objects but also upload the downloaded media objects to other users in the network. This approach seems to be the most promising to tackle the requirements of bandwidth provisioning while the resource redundancy improves the fault tolerance

Building Reliable Computing Services on Clouds

Spyros Denazis Project Manager University of Patras

properties of the system. Recently, the convergence between traditional CDNs and cloud-based video streaming approaches have signaled a new era for network-aware media distribution technologies, as exemplified by the co-locating of the CDN World Forum with the Cloud Computing World Forum and by recent cloud video product announcements by Cisco and Technicolor.


P2P@Clouds addresses the need to experiment with new innovative media distribution architectures with their corresponding delivery mechanisms that we collectively refer to as the media-enabled network cloud. In this context, our media distribution architecture makes efficient use of bandwidth and storage resources that are provided by a set of media distribution servers as well as by the participating users. By exploiting the resources of users we can achieve the development of a scalable, low cost, fault-tolerant system that minimizes the load of the underlying network. In contrast, combining media distribution servers located in the cloud allows us to exploit properties such as stable media distribution behavior and efficient media object management. The end result is a system that efficiently addresses the tradeoff between quality and cost. Furthermore, it accommodates and adapts to emerging requirements from Future Media in the form of a new breed of resource allocation and distributed flow control mechanisms.

“P2P@Clouds specified and executed research experiments that aim at orchestrating user resources and cloud resources (media servers) toward low cost and stable real time media distribution”
Sakis Christakidis Senior Researcher University of Patras

The solution Combining peer-to-peer technology with the cloud
UoP has designed and developed parts of a system that is able to guarantee the undisturbed distribution of a media object to all the participating users in a stable and low cost manner. This system consists of the participating users, running the UoP’s P2P client that are connected through a media distributed graph and exchange blocks through the use of a scheduler. The transmission of the blocks to the underlying network is done using a distributed flow control algorithm. A monitoring component is able to monitor in a scalable way the overall aggregate bandwidth of the system and, in the case that this is not sufficient, to reserve the extra necessary bandwidth from resources that belong in the cloud.

The components of the systems that have been developed and evaluated through extensive experimentation in the BonFIRE facilities are:  Media distribution graph: It is the graph through which the participating peers are connected. In contrast to the random mesh that is used in the majority of peer-to-peer systems, the proposed graph architecture exhibits high levels of scalability, with respect to the number of participating peers, high levels of bandwidth utilization, by distinguishing peers according to their upload capabilities, and locality properties in order to minimize the overall traffic and boost the performance of the streaming procedure.  Distributed flow control algorithm: As the majority of flow control mechanisms (like TCP, plain UPD, RTP) are not suited for peer-to-peer traffic, there is a need for a distributed flow control mechanism that can take full advantage of a peer’s uploading capabilities, without congesting the network, and being friendly to other unrelated TCP traffic

Using BonFIRE’s unique infrastructure we were able to deploy a full peer-to-peer system and manage and design, develop and thoroughly test those two major functionalities that can bring us closer to the realization of the full proposed system. The evaluation process showed that all the desired requirements that were set are fully satisfied. More specifically the developed media graph distribution architecture exhibits the required topological properties, without affecting the scalability of the system, and can dynamically adjust to changes in the underlying network and/or in the peer population, while the developed flow control algorithm can take full advantage of a peer’s uploading capabilities without congesting the network.

Added value of using BonFIRE
“The media distribution graph reflects the underlying network topology”
 A major requirement for developing and testing the proposed algorithms was the availability of a large scale test-bed. BonFIRE not only provided such a test bed but also its unique tools made the deployment of a large number of VMs a straightforward and fast procedure.  Besides the large number of peer population, we also needed to have peers geographically distributed in order to test architectures with topological properties. BonFIRE’s multi-site environment and BonFIRE’s Virtual Wall emulated environment allowed us to develop and reliably evaluate our system.  A reason that prevents the adoption of P2P live streaming systems is the lack of a sophisticated peer-to-peer flow control. The fully controlled network infrastructure of BonFIRE’s Virtual Wall provided the ideal set up for the development and evaluation of

“The flow control algorithm fully exploits the available upload capacity and adjusts to its changes”

such mechanism.  Finally, the monitoring tools provided by BonFIRE allowed us to have a real time overview of the status of our experiments, speeding up the testing and the evaluation process

Next steps
The development of a pure peer-to-peer client tested in real network conditions along with the gathered experimental data will allow us to reveal the limitations of such a system and provide guidelines on how to proceed with merging the peer-to-peer technology with the cloud. Also the existence of these two functionalities will allow us to demonstrate the capabilities of our peer-topeer client and bring ourselves closer to the market in two ways. The first is that we can commercially exploit our knowledge to facilitate industry that develops real time media distribution systems and the second and more ambitious is that we will have a standalone real time media distribution system.

Your free and open Cloud testbed

BonFIRE Facility: open for experimentation
Following two successful Open Calls that have given academic researchers, developers and SMEs access to the Cloud infrastructures in BonFIRE, it is possible to apply for running experiments as part of the Open Access initiative. This is your chance to get involved and test your innovative ideas for free!

In Open Access, you will have access to a multi-site Cloud facility for applications, services and systems experimentation:

    

Large-scale, heterogeneous and virtualised compute, storage and networking resources Full control of your resource deployment In-depth monitoring and logging of both physical and virtual resources Advanced Cloud and network features Ease of use of experimentation

BonFIRE allows users to evaluate the effects of converged service and network infrastructures; assess the socio-economic impact of new Cloud services; and to combine Cloud computing and data storage with novel networking scenarios. Essentially, BonFIRE enables developers to research new, faster, cheaper or more flexible ways of running applications. Open Access will continue through 2014.

BonFIRE Project
The BonFIRE Project has funded experiments selected trough two open calls. This series of public case studies highlights the challenges and results of each experiment and the added value of the BonFIRE multi-cloud facility.

The BonFIRE consortium brings together world leading industrial and academic organisations in cloud computing to deliver a robust, reliable and sustainable facility for large scale experimentallydriven cloud research. The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Commission's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013)

under grant agreement nº 257386

Contact information
Experiment contact information: Sakis Christakidis (schristakidis@ece.upatras.gr) The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Phone: +30 6997442048 Commission's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013)

BonFIRE contact information under grant agreement nº 257386

Provided by the Foundation

More information: www.bonfire-project.eu Contact: bonfire @ bonfire-project.eu

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