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Evaluating the Scalability of Distributed Systems
June 2000 (vol. 11 no. 6)
pp. 589-603

Abstract—Many distributed systems must be scalable, meaning that they must be economically deployable in a wide range of sizes and configurations. This paper presents a scalability metric based on cost-effectiveness, where the effectiveness is a function of the system's throughput and its quality of service. It is part of a framework which also includes a scaling strategy for introducing changes as a function of a scale factor, and an automated virtual design optimization at each scale factor. This is an adaptation of concepts for scalability measures in parallel computing. Scalability is measured by the range of scale factors that give a satisfactory value of the metric, and good scalability is a joint property of the initial design and the scaling strategy. The results give insight into the scaling capacity of the designs, and into how to improve the design. A rapid simple bound on the metric is also described.

The metric is demonstrated in this work by applying it to some well-known idealized systems, and to real prototypes of communications software.

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Index Terms:
Scalability, distributed systems, scalability metric, software performance, performance model, layered queuing, performance optimization, replication.
Prasad Jogalekar, Murray Woodside, "Evaluating the Scalability of Distributed Systems," IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems, vol. 11, no. 6, pp. 589-603, June 2000, doi:10.1109/71.862209
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