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Characterizing Cloud Computing Hardware Reliability

Kashi Venkatesh Vishwanath and Nachiappan Nagappan

Abstract

Modern day datacenters host hundreds of thousands of servers that coordinate tasks in order to deliver highly available cloud computing services. These servers consist of multiple hard disks, memory modules, network cards, processors etc., each of which while carefully engineered are capable of failing. While the probability of seeing any such failure in the lifetime (typically 3-5 years in industry) of a server can be somewhat small, these numbers get magnified across all devices hosted in a datacenter. At such a large scale, hardware component failure is the norm rather than an exception.

Hardware failure can lead to a degradation in performance to end-users and can result in losses to the business. A sound understanding of the numbers as well as the causes behind these failures helps improve operational experience by not only allowing us to be better equipped to tolerate failures but also to bring down the hardware cost through engineering, directly leading to a saving for the company. To the best of our knowledge, this paper is the first attempt to study server failures and hardware repairs for large datacenters. We present a detailed analysis of failure characteristics as well as a preliminary analysis on failure predictors. We hope that the results presented in this paper will serve as motivation to foster further research in this area.

Details

Publication typeInproceedings
Published inSymposium on Cloud Computing
PublisherIEEE
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