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On the impact of virtualization on Dropbox-like cloud file storage/synchronization services

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4 Author(s)
Haiyang Wang ; School of Computing Science, Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, Canada ; Ryan Shea ; Feng Wang ; Jiangchuan Liu

Powered by cloud computing, Dropbox not only provides reliable file storage but also enables effective file synchronization and user collaboration. This new generation of service, beyond conventional client/server or peer-to-peer file hosting with storage only, has attracted a vast number of Internet users. It is however known that the synchronization delay of Dropbox-like systems is increasing with their expansion, often beyond the accepted level for practical collaboration. In this paper, we present an initial measurement to understand the design and performance bottleneck of the proprietary Dropbox system. Our measurement identifies the cloud servers/instances utilized by Dropbox, revealing its hybrid design with both Amazon's S3 (for storage) and Amazon's EC2 (for computation). The mix of bandwidth-intensive tasks (such as content delivery) and computation-intensive tasks (such as compare hash values for the contents) in Dropbox enables seamless collaboration and file synchronization among multiple users; yet their interference, revealed in our experiments, creates a severe bottleneck that prolongs the synchronization delay with virtual machines in the cloud, which has not seen in conventional physical machines. We thus re-model the resource provisioning problem in the Dropbox-like systems and present an interference-aware solution that smartly allocates the Dropbox tasks to different cloud instances. Evaluation results show that our solution remarkably reduces the synchronization delay for this new generation of file hosting service.

Published in:

Quality of Service (IWQoS), 2012 IEEE 20th International Workshop on

Date of Conference:

4-5 June 2012