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Design-Time Simulation of a Large-Scale, Distributed Object System

Frolund, Svend; Garg, Pankaj

HPL-98-158

Keyword(s): scalability analysis; performance modeling

Abstract: We present a case study in using simulation at design time to predict the performance and scalability properties of a large-scale distributed object system. The system, called Consul, is a network management system that is designed to support hundreds of operators managing millions of network devices. It is essential that a system such as Consul be designed with performance and scalability in mind, but due to Consul's complexity and scale, it is hard to reason about performance and scalability using ad-hoc techniques. We built a simulation of Consul's design to guide the design process by enabling performance and scalability analysis of various design alternatives. A major challenge in doing design-time simulation is that many parameters for the simulation are based on estimates rather than measurements. We developed analysis methods that derive conclusions that are valid in the presence of estimation errors. In this paper we describe our scalability analysis method for design simulations of distributed object systems. The main idea is to use relative and comparative reasoning to analyze design alternatives and compare transaction behaviors. We demonstrate the analysis approach by describing its application to Consul.

27 Pages

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