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Analysis of Task Assignment Policies in Scalable Distributed Web-Server Systems
June 1998 (vol. 9 no. 6)
pp. 585-600

Abstract—A distributed multiserver Web site can provide the scalability necessary to keep up with growing client demand at popular sites. Load balancing of these distributed Web-server systems, consisting of multiple, homogeneous Web servers for document retrieval and a Domain Name Server (DNS) for address resolution, opens interesting new problems. In this paper, we investigate the effects of using a more active DNS which, as an atypical centralized scheduler, applies some scheduling strategy in routing the requests to the most suitable Web server. Unlike traditional parallel/distributed systems in which a centralized scheduler has full control of the system, the DNS controls only a very small fraction of the requests reaching the multiserver Web site. This peculiarity, especially in the presence of highly skewed load, makes it very difficult to achieve acceptable load balancing and avoid overloading some Web servers.

This paper adapts traditional scheduling algorithms to the DNS, proposes new policies, and examines their impact under different scenarios. Extensive simulation results show the advantage of strategies that make scheduling decisions on the basis of the domain that originates the client requests and limited server state information (e.g., whether a server is overloaded or not). An initially unexpected result is that using detailed server information, especially based on history, does not seem useful in predicting the future load and can often lead to degraded performance.

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Index Terms:
Distributed systems, Internet, load balancing, performance analysis, scheduling algorithms, Web servers, WWW.
Citation:
Michele Colajanni, Philip S. Yu, Daniel M. Dias, "Analysis of Task Assignment Policies in Scalable Distributed Web-Server Systems," IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems, vol. 9, no. 6, pp. 585-600, June 1998, doi:10.1109/71.689446
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