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Efficient management of distributed resources, under conditions of unpredictable and varying workload, requires enforcement of dynamic resource management policies. Execution of such policies requires a relatively fine-grain control over the resources allocated to jobs in the system. Although this is a difficult task using conventional job management and program execution models, reconfigurable applications can be used to make it viable. With reconfigurable applications, it is possible to dynamically change, during the course of program execution, the number of concurrently executing tasks of an application as well as the resources allocated. Thus, reconfigurable applications can adapt to internal changes in resource requirements and to external changes affecting available resources. In this paper, we discuss dynamic management of resources on distributed systems with the help of reconfigurable applications. We first characterize reconfigurable parallel applications. We then present a new programming model for reconfigurable applications and the Distributed Resource Management System (DRMS), an integrated environment for the design, development, execution, and resource scheduling of reconfigurable applications. Experiments were conducted to verify the functionality and performance of application reconfiguration under DRMS. A detailed breakdown of the costs in reconfiguration is presented with respect to several different applications. Our results indicate that application reconfiguration is effective under DRMS and can be beneficial in improving individual application performance as well as overall system performance. We observe a significant reduction in average job response time and an improvement in overall system utilization.
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