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Performance Guarantees for Web Server End-Systems: A Control-Theoretical Approach
January 2002 (vol. 13 no. 1)
pp. 80-96

The Internet is undergoing substantial changes from a communication and browsing infrastructure to a medium for conducting business and marketing a myriad of services. The World Wide Web provides a uniform and widely-accepted application interface used by these services to reach multitudes of clients. These changes place the Web server at the center of a gradually emerging e-service infrastructure with increasing requirements for service quality and reliability guarantees in an unpredictable and highly-dynamic environment. This paper describes performance control of a Web server using classical feedback control theory. We use feedback control theory to achieve overload protection, performance guarantees, and service differentiation in the presence of load unpredictability. We show that feedback control theory offers a promising analytic foundation for providing service differentiation and performance guarantees. We demonstrate how a general Web server may be modeled for purposes of performance control, present the equivalents of sensors and actuators, formulate a simple feedback loop, describe how it can leverage on real-time scheduling and feedback-control theories to achieve per-class response-time and throughput guarantees, and evaluate the efficacy of the scheme on an experimental testbed using the most popular Web server, Apache. Experimental results indicate that control-theoretic techniques offer a sound way of achieving desired performance in performance-critical Internet applications. Our QoS (Quality-of-Service) management solutions can be implemented either in middleware that is transparent to the server, or as a library called by server code.

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Index Terms:
Quality of Service, Web servers, control theory, performance guarantees.
Tarek F. Abdelzaher, Kang G. Shin, Nina Bhatti, "Performance Guarantees for Web Server End-Systems: A Control-Theoretical Approach," IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 80-96, Jan. 2002, doi:10.1109/71.980028
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