Mahesh Balakrishnan

email: beep maheshba beep beep at beep microsoft beep dot com (remove the obvious padding)

I am a researcher at MSR Silicon Valley working on networked and distributed systems.

My current research is focused on CORFU (Clusters of Raw/Redundant Flash Units, also an island near Paxos), a project at MSR aimed at new abstractions for flash clusters. CORFU organizes a cluster of flash drives as a single shared log. Top down, CORFU acts as a source of atomicity and durability for applications that require strong consistency, such as databases, metadata services and replicated state machines. Bottom up, CORFU is a distributed SSD that works directly over a cluster of network-attached flash drives, slashing power and infrastructure cost by eliminating storage servers.

Tango is a new system that implements in-memory data structures (such as lists, maps and trees) over the CORFU shared log. Tango data structures are easy to build and use (think C# or Java Collections, or C++ STL), while providing transactional access and properties such as persistence, high availability, linearizable consistency and elasticity.

I'm also currently collaborating with folks at Cornell University on Gecko, a new storage system designed to provide high, stable throughput in cloud environments in the face of heavy contention between virtual machines.

Prior work on solid state storage includes the Differential RAID project, where we show that conventional RAID variants can cause correlated failures when used with commodity SSDs. In the Griffin project, we propose a hybrid storage design that extends the lifetime of an SSD by augmenting it with a hard drive write cache.

Earlier, I got my PhD at Cornell University in 2009 while working with Ken Birman on reliable communication protocols for data centers.

I work in a number of other areas related to systems research, including geo-distributed storage, network topology services, 3G networks and data center multicast.

Service:

PC Member of: TRIOS 2014, SFMA 2014, SOCC 2013, LADIS 2012, ICDCS 2010, SSS 2009.

Journal reviewer for: IEEE/ACM ToN (2012, 2011), ACM TOS (2010, 2011), ACM TAAS (2012), ACM TECS (2011, 2012), IEEE ToC (2010), IEEE TASE (2010), IEEE TPDS (2007).

Publications: conferences, workshops, and journals

Conference Publications:

SOSP Tango: Distributed Data Structures over a Shared Log. Mahesh Balakrishnan, Dahlia Malkhi, Ted Wobber, Ming Wu, Vijayan Prabhakaran, Michael Wei, John D. Davis, Sriram Rao, Tao Zou, Aviad Zuck. In SOSP 2013: The 24th ACM Symposium on Operating Systems Principles. [paper] [slides] [video]

SOSP Consistency-Based Service Level Agreements for Cloud Storage. Douglas Terry, Vijayan Prabhakaran, Rama Kotla, Mahesh Balakrishnan, Marcos K. Aguilera, Hussam Abu-Libdeh. In SOSP 2013: The 24th ACM Symposium on Operating Systems Principles. [paper]

SYSTOR Beyond Block I/O: Implementing a Distributed Shared Log in Hardware. Michael Wei, John D. Davis, Ted Wobber, Mahesh Balakrishnan, Dahlia Malkhi. In SYSTOR 2013: 6th International Systems and Storage Conference, Haifa, Israel, June 2013. [paper]

FAST Contention-Oblivious Disk Arrays for Cloud Storage. Ji Yong Shin, Mahesh Balakrishnan, Tudor Marian, Hakim Weatherspoon. In FAST 2013: 11th USENIX Conference on File and Storage Technologies, San Jose, CA, February 2013. [paper]

NSDI CORFU: A Shared Log Design for Flash Clusters. Mahesh Balakrishnan, Dahlia Malkhi, Vijayan Prabhakaran, Ted Wobber, Michael Wei, John D. Davis. In NSDI 2012: 9th Usenix Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation, San Jose, CA, April 2012. [paper] [slides] [project]

Middleware Contrail: Enabling Decentralized Social Networks on Smartphones. Patrick Stuedi, Iqbal Mohomed, Mahesh Balakrishnan, Ted Wobber, Doug Terry, Morley Mao. In Middleware 2011: ACM/IFIP/USENIX 12th International Middleware Conference, Lisboa, Portugal, December 2011 (best paper award). [paper]

Usenix Online Migration for Geo-Distributed Storage Systems. Nguyen Tran, Marcos Aguilera, Mahesh Balakrishnan. In Usenix 2011: Usenix Annual Technical Conference, Portland, OR, June 2011. [paper]

EuroSys Differential RAID: Rethinking RAID for SSD Reliability. Mahesh Balakrishnan, Asim Kadav, Vijayan Prabhakaran, Dahlia Malkhi. In EuroSys 2010: 5th ACM European Conference on Computer Systems, Paris, France, April 2010. [paper] [slides]

EuroSys Dr. Multicast: Rx for Data Center Communication Scalability. Ymir Vigfusson, Hussam Abu-Libdeh, Mahesh Balakrishnan, Ken Birman, Robert Burgess, Gregory Chockler, Haoyuan Li, Yoav Tock. In EuroSys 2010: 5th ACM European Conference on Computer Systems, Paris, France, April 2010. [paper]

FAST Extending SSD Lifetimes with Disk-Based Write Caches. Gokul Soundararajan, Vijayan Prabhakaran, Mahesh Balakrishnan, Ted Wobber. To Appear In FAST 2010: 8th USENIX Conference on File and Storage Technologies, San Jose, CA, February 2010. [paper]

IMC Where's that Phone?: Geolocating IP Addresses on 3G Networks. Mahesh Balakrishnan, Iqbal Mohomed, Venugopalan Ramasubramanian. In IMC 2009: Internet Measurement Conference, Chicago, IL, November 2009. [paper]

SIGMETRICS On the Treeness of Internet Latency and Bandwidth. Venugopalan Ramasubramanian, Dahlia Malkhi, Fabian Kuhn, Mahesh Balakrishnan, Archit Gupta, Aditya Akella. In SIGMETRICS / Performance 2009: Joint International Conference on Measurement and Modeling of Computer Systems, Seattle, WA, June 2009.

FAST Smoke and Mirrors: Shadowing Files at Remote Locations without Performance Loss. Hakim Weatherspoon, Lakshmi Ganesh, Tudor Marian, Mahesh Balakrishnan, Ken Birman. In FAST 2009: 7th USENIX Conference on File and Storage Technologies, San Francisco, CA, February 2009.

DSN Tempest: Soft State Replication in the Service Tier. Tudor Marian, Mahesh Balakrishnan, Ken Birman, Robbert van Renesse. In DSN 2008: 38th Annual IEEE/IFIP International Conference on Dependable Systems and Networks (DCCS track), Anchorage, AK, June 2008. [paper]

NSDI Maelstrom: Transparent Error Correction for Lambda Networks. Mahesh Balakrishnan, Tudor Marian, Ken Birman, Hakim Weatherspoon, Einar Vollset. In NSDI 2008: Fifth Usenix Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation, San Francisco, CA, April 2008. [paper] [slides]

PODC Reconstructing Approximate Tree Metrics. Ittai Abraham, Mahesh Balakrishnan, Fabian Kuhn, Dahlia Malkhi, Kunal Talwar, Venugopalan Ramasubramanian. In PODC 2007: 26th Annual ACM SIGACT-SIGOPS Symposium on Principles of Distributed Computing, Portland, OR, August 2007. [paper]

NSDI Ricochet: Lateral Error Correction for Time-Critical Multicast. Mahesh Balakrishnan, Ken Birman, Amar Phanishayee, Stefan Pleisch. In NSDI 2007: Fourth Usenix Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation, Cambridge, MA, April 2007. [paper] [slides]

Comsware Scalable Multicast Platforms for a New Generation of Robust Distributed Applications. Ken Birman, Mahesh Balakrishnan, Danny Dolev, Tudor Marian, Krzysztof Ostrowski, Amar Phanishayee. In COMSWARE 2007: 2nd IEEE/Create-Net/ICST International Conference on Communication System Software and Middleware, Bangalore, India, January 2007.

SRDS PLATO: Predictive Latency-Aware Total Ordering. Mahesh Balakrishnan, Ken Birman and Amar Phanishayee. In SRDS 2006: 25th IEEE Symposium on Reliable Distributed Systems, Leeds, UK, October 2006. [paper] [slides]

MobiHoc Mistral: Efficient Flooding in Mobile Ad-hoc Networks. Stefan Pleisch, Mahesh Balakrishnan, Ken Birman and Robbert van Renesse. In MobiHoc 2006: 7th ACM International Symposium on Mobile Ad Hoc Networking and Computing, Florence, Italy, May 2006. [paper]

NCA Slingshot: Time-Critical Multicast for Clustered Applications. Mahesh Balakrishnan, Stefan Pleisch and Ken Birman. In NCA 2005: 5th IEEE International Symposium on Network Computing and Applications, Boston, MA, July 2005. [paper] [slides]

Workshop publications:

HotStorage Harmonium: Elastic Cloud Storage via File Motifs. Helgi Sigurbjarnarson, Petur Orri Ragnarsson, Ymir Vigfusson, Mahesh Balakrishnan. In HotStorage 2014: 6th Usenix Workshop on Hot Topics in Storage and File Systems, Philadelphia, PA, June 2014.

CCSNA Hiding behind the Clouds: Efficient, Privacy-Preserving Queries via Cloud Proxies. Surabhi Gaur, Melody Moh, Mahesh Balakrishnan. In IEEE Globecom 2013 Workshop on Cloud Computing Systems, Networks, and Applications, Atlanta, GA, December 2013. [paper]

HotStorage Gecko: A Contention-Oblivious Design for Cloud Storage. Ji Yong Shin, Mahesh Balakrishnan, Lakshmi Ganesh, Tudor Marian, Hakim Weatherspoon. In HotStorage 2012: 4th Usenix Workshop on Hot Topics in Storage and File Systems, Boston, MA, June 2012.

HotNets Location, Location, Location! Modeling Data Proximity in the Cloud. Birjodh Tiwana, Mahesh Balakrishnan, Marcos Aguilera, Hitesh Ballani, Z. Morley Mao. In HotNets IX: Ninth Workshop on Hot Topics in Networking, Monterey, CA, October 2010. [paper]

HotStorage Depletable Storage Systems. Vijayan Prabhakaran, Mahesh Balakrishnan, Ted Wobber, John Davis. In HotStorage 2010: 2nd Workshop on Hot Topics in Storage and File Systems, Boston, MA, June 2010. [paper]

HotStorage Differential RAID: Rethinking RAID for SSD Reliability. Asim Kadav, Mahesh Balakrishnan, Vijayan Prabhakaran, Dahlia Malkhi. In HotStorage 2009: 1st Workshop on Hot Topics in Storage and File Systems, Big Sky, MT, October 2009 (best paper award). This version also appeared in ACM SIGOPS Operating Systems Review, 44(1), January 2010. [paper] [slides]

HotNets Dr. Multicast: Rx for Datacenter Communication Scalability. Ymir Vigfusson, Hussam Abu-Libdeh, Mahesh Balakrishnan, Ken Birman, Yoav Tock. In HotNets VII: Seventh ACM Workshop on Hot Topics in Networks, Calgary, Canada, October 2008. [paper]

HotOS Optimizing Power Consumption in Large Scale Storage Systems. Lakshmi Ganesh, Hakim Weatherspoon, Mahesh Balakrishnan, Ken Birman. In HotOS XI: 11th Workshop on Hot Topics in Operating Systems, San Diego, CA, May 2007. [paper]

WASR Reliable Multicast for Time-Critical Systems. Mahesh Balakrishnan and Ken Birman. In WASR 2006: 1st IEEE Workshop on Applied Software Reliability, Philadelphia, PA, June 2006. [paper] [slides]

Journal publications:

Internet Computing Contrail: Decentralized and Privacy-Preserving Social Networks on Smartphones. Patrick Stuedi, Iqbal Mohomed, Mahesh Balakrishnan, Morley Mao, Doug Terry, Ted Wobber. In IEEE Internet Computing, Dec 2013. (invited paper)

TOCS CORFU: A Distributed Shared Log. Mahesh Balakrishnan, Dahlia Malkhi, John D. Davis, Vijayan Prabhakaran, Michael Wei, Ted Wobber. To Appear in ACM Transactions on Computer Systems. (invited paper)

OSR From Paxos to CORFU: A Flash-Speed Shared Log. Dahlia Malkhi, Mahesh Balakrishnan, John D. Davis, Vijayan Prabhakaran, Ted Wobber. In ACM SIGOPS Operating Systems Review.

TON Maelstrom: Transparent Error Correction for Communication between Data Centers. Mahesh Balakrishnan, Tudor Marian, Ken Birman, Hakim Weatherspoon, Lakshmi Ganesh. In IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking, June 2011. [paper]

TOS Differential RAID: Rethinking RAID for SSD Reliability. Mahesh Balakrishnan, Asim Kadav, Vijayan Prabhakaran, Dahlia Malkhi. In ACM Transactions on Storage, June 2010 (invited paper).