Ant Rowstron

Principal Researcher,

Microsoft Research Cambridge

Email: antr@microsoft.com

 

 

 

 

 

Current Active Research Projects:

·      Rack-Scale Computing

·      Pelican

Recent Research Projects:

·      Predictable Data Centers (inc. IOFlow and Software Defined Storage)

Recent publications:

·       Shobana Balakrishnan, Richard Black, Austin Donnelly, Paul England, Adam Glass, Dave Harper, Sergey Legtchenko, A, Ogus, E. Peterson and A. Rowstron “Pelican: A building block for exascale cold data storage” in OSDI, October 2014 [ pdf ]

·       Fahad R Dogar, Thomas Karagiannis, Hitesh Ballani, and Antony Rowstron, “Decentralized Task-aware Scheduling for Data Center Networks”, in SIGCOMM, ACM, August 2014 [ pdf ]

·       Eno Thereska, Hitesh Ballani, Greg O'Shea, Thomas Karagiannis, Antony Rowstron, Tom Talpey, and Timothy Zhu “IOFlow: A Software-Defined Storage Architecture” SOSP'13, Farmington, PA, USA, November, 2013. [pdf ]

Full publication list is available here (and probably more up to date on Google Scholar!)

Overview:

I do systems research at the junction of Networking, Systems, Storage and Distributed Systems and recently my work has been heavily focused on an area called rack-scale computing.  Over the years I have worked in several areas, including structured overlays or Distributed Hash Tables (DHTs), wireless routing protocols and even Robot Football (RoboCup’98). I worked on one of the first DHTs, called Pastry, and the 2001 paper on Pastry written with Peter Druschel was awarded the "Middleware'2011 10-year best paper award".

Several things I worked on have passed over from research to the wider world in one way or another - for example the work on Pastry directly contributed to both the Windows DRT API and the related Windows PNRP API (the former even includes a leaf set).  LiveStation licensed some of our P2P work around Pastry and SplitStream. Some of the work described in our IOFlow paper (SOSP’13) around opening up the storage stack and providing QoS primitives in the storage stack resulted in the SMB Bandwidth Limiting feature in Windows Server 2012 R2, and also inspired the end-to-end Storage QoS feature in Windows Server vNext (see blog posting).

Current research – Rack-Scale Computing:

 

My current research effort is focused on creating the technologies and systems that will underpin future cloud- based computing platform, and in particular rack-scale computing. This started with thinking about rack-scale network interconnects (in the CamCube  project) which explored direct-connect topologies where the centralized top of rack switches are removed and instead servers or processors perform packet routing, thereby distributing the top of rack functionality across the servers or processors. The AMD SeaMicro fabric compute systems and other such systems, are now commercially available and use direct connect networks, at the sort of scales we were experimenting with in CamCube.

 

This led us to start Rack-scale computing - where we think about the rack as the unit of deployment and design – why do we think in terms of 1U or 2U when we deploy racks in data centers that are 44U or bigger? We think about co-designing all the resources in the rack, including networking, power, mechanical, compute, software and cooling etc. One of the first concrete rack-scale platforms we have built is a cold storage rack-scale system called Pelican, designed to provide storage for cold data, e.g. data that is written once and then read rarely. Pelican uses right-provisioning, and has a converged design: the power, cooling, hardware and software are all co-designed. We have demonstrated how to build a cold storage system that much lower capital and operating expenses for storing cold data.

 

The process of building our first rack-scale computer has taught us two primary lessons: first, it is hard to understand the design space when co-designing so many resources, and small changes in single resources can have significant impact on the overall design. This has led us to begin to try and build tools that can synthesize software stacks for rack-scale computers as well as tools that aid in the development of rack-scale computers, examples of these tools are Flamingo, that synthesize cold storage stacks, and Heron, a tool that automatically generates a small set of rack designs derived from a base design. Secondly, is that adapting hardware configurations to workloads can yield significant cost savings, but with the loss of generality. Racks today are designed with the resources for peak workloads, be that power, cooling, compute etc to support this generality. This has driven us to consider how we can build rack components which are adaptable to workloads (on the timescale of seconds to minutes), providing potentially better performance for those workloads compared to a general rack, but with the costs benefits of having resources right-provisioned rather than provisioned for a mythical peak performance.

 

For more general information see the Rack-Scale Computing project page.

 

Past projects with web sites:

·      CamCube

·      Pastry (Distributed Hash Table) and related overlay work: The original Pastry web site (Pastry, Squirrel, PAST, Scribe and SplitStream). For later projects please see this page.  

Some of the key publications from Pastry and the related applications:

§  Rowstron and P. Druschel, "Pastry: Scalable, distributed object location and routing for large-scale peer-to-peer systems", Middleware'2001, Germany, November 2001. [ pdf.zip | ps.zip | pdf | ps ]

§  M. Castro, P. Druschel, A-M. Kermarrec, A. Nandi, A. Rowstron and A. Singh, "SplitStream: High-bandwidth multicast in cooperative environments", SOSP'03, Lake Bolton, New York, October, 2003.   [ pdf.zip | ps.zippdf | ps ]

§  Rowstron and P. Druschel, "Storage management and caching in PAST, a large-scale, persistent peer-to-peer storage utility", 18th SOSP'01, Banff, Canada, October 2001.  [ pdf.zip | ps.zip | pdf | ps ]

§  M. Castro, P. Druschel, A. Ganesh, A. Rowstron, and D. S. Wallach, "Secure routing for structured peer-to-peer overlay networks".  In Proceedings of the Fifth Symposium on Operating Systems Design and Implementation (OSDI'02), Boston, MA, December 2002. [ pdf.zip | ps.zip | pdf | ps ]

§  M. Castro, M. Costa, and A. Rowstron, "Debunking some myths about structured and unstructured overlays", NSDI'05, Boston, MA, USA, May 2005. [ ps | pdf ]

§  M. Castro, P. Druschel, A-M. Kermarrec, A. Nandi, A. Rowstron and A. Singh, "SplitStream: High-bandwidth multicast in cooperative environments", SOSP, 2003.   [ pdf  ]

·      Virtual Ring Routing

Selected publications from my time at Microsoft Research:

 

·       Shobana Balakrishnan, Richard Black, Austin Donnelly, Paul England, Adam Glass, Dave Harper, Sergey Legtchenko, A, Ogus, E. Peterson and A. Rowstron “Pelican: A building block for exascale cold data storage” in OSDI, October 2014 [ pdf ]

·       Fahad R Dogar, Thomas Karagiannis, Hitesh Ballani, and Antony Rowstron, “Decentralized Task-aware Scheduling for Data Center Networks”, in SIGCOMM, ACM, August 2014 [ pdf ]

·       Eno Thereska, Hitesh Ballani, Greg O'Shea, Thomas Karagiannis, Antony Rowstron, Tom Talpey, and Timothy Zhu “IOFlow: A Software-Defined Storage Architecture” SOSP'13, Farmington, PA, USA, November, 2013. [ pdf ]

·       Christos Gkantsidis, Dimitris Vytiniotis, Orion Hodson, Dushyanth Narayanan, Florin Dinu, Antony Rowstron "Rhea: Automatic Filtering for Unstructured Cloud Storage", NSDI , April 2013 [ pdf  ]

·       Virajith Jalaparti, Hitesh Ballani, Paolo Costa. Thomas Karagiannis and Antony Rowstron "Bridging the Tenant-Provider Gap in Cloud Services". Proceedings SOCC, Oct, 2012 [ pdf  ]

·       Paolo Costa, Austin Donnelly, Ant Rowstron, Greg O'Shea. "Camdoop: Exploiting In-network Aggregation for Big Data Applications", NSDI, 2012 [ pdf  ]

·       C. Wilson, H. Ballani, T. Karagiannis and A. Rowstron. "Better Never than Late: Meeting Deadlines in Datacenter Networks",Sigcomm,2011. [ pdf ]

·       H. Ballani, P. Costa, T. Karagiannis and A. Rowstron. "Towards Predictable Datacenter Networks", Sigcomm, 2011. [ pdf ]

·       H. Abu-Libdeh, P. Costa, A. Rowstron, G. O'Shea and A. Donnelly. "Symbiotic routing in future data centers", Sigcomm, 2010. [ pdf ]

·       D. Narayanan, A. Donnelly, E. Thereska, S. Elnikety and A. Rowstron. "Migrating server storage to SSDs: analysis of tradeoffs", EuroSys 2009. [ pdf ]

·       D. Narayanan, A. Donnelly, E. Thereska, S. Elnikety and A. Rowstron. "Everest: Scaling down peak loads through I/O off-loading", OSDI, 2008. [ pdf]

·       T. Karagiannis, R. Mortier and A. Rowstron. "Network exception handlers: host-network control in enterprise networks", Sigcomm, 2008 [ pdf]

·       D. Narayanan, A. Donnelly and A. Rowstron. "Write Off-loading: Practical power management for enterprise storage", FAST, 2008 [ pdf ] (invited to submit to ACM TOS)

·       D. Narayanan, A. Donnelly, R. Mortier and A. Rowstron. "Delay Aware Querying with Seaweed", VLDB, 2006 [ ps | pdf ] (forwarded to the VLDB Journal best of 2006)

·       M. Caesar, M. Castro, E. Nightingale, G. O'Shea and A. Rowstron, "Virtual Ring Routing: Network routing inspired by DHTs", Sigcomm, 2006.  [ ps | pdf ]

·       M. Costa, J. Crowcroft, M. Castro, A. Rowstron, L. Zhou, L. Zhang, and P. Barham, "Vigilante: End-to-End Containment of Internet Worms", SOSP, 2005.[ ps | pdf ]

·       M. Castro, M. Costa, and A. Rowstron, "Debunking some myths about structured and unstructured overlays", NSDI, 2005. [ pdf ]

·       L. Zhuang, F. Zhou, B. Y. Zhao and A. Rowstron, "Cashmere: Resilient Anonymous Routing", NSDI, 2005. [ pdf ]

·       M. Castro, P. Druschel, A-M. Kermarrec, A. Nandi, A. Rowstron and A. Singh, "SplitStream: High-bandwidth multicast in cooperative environments", SOSP, 2003.   [ pdf  ]

·       M. Castro, P. Druschel, A-M. Kermarrec  and A. Rowstron, "SCRIBE: A large-scale and decentralized application-level multicast infrastructure", IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communication (JSAC), October 2002.  [ pdf ]

·       M. Castro, P. Druschel, A. Ganesh, A. Rowstron, and D. S. Wallach, "Secure routing for structured peer-to-peer overlay networks", OSDI,  December 2002. [ pdf ]

·       S. Iyer, A. Rowstron and P. Druschel, "SQUIRREL: A decentralized, peer-to-peer web cache", PODC,  July 2002. [ pdf ]

·       A. Rowstron and P. Druschel, "Pastry: Scalable, decentralized object location and routing for large-scale peer-to-peer systems", Middleware, 2001. [ pdf ]

o   (10 year best paper award from Middleware awarded in 2011)

·       A. Rowstron and P. Druschel, "Storage management and caching in PAST, a large-scale, persistent peer-to-peer storage utility", SOSP, October 2001.  [ pdf  ]

·       A-M Kermarrec, A. Rowstron, M. Shapiro and P. Druschel. "The IceCube approach to the reconciliation of divergent replicas", PODC, 2001. [ pdf ]

Short Bio:

For the last 16 or so years I have been working as a researcher at Microsoft Research in Cambridge, UK where I am now a Principal Researcher and lead the Systems and Networking Group. My research interests are broad, covering the spectrum of systems, distributed systems, storage and networking. In May of 2010 I was elected as a Fellow of the British Computer Society. I received an MEng degree in Computer Systems and Software Engineering in 1993 from the University of York, UK, and a DPhil degree in Computer Science in 1997 also from the University of York, UK.

In 1996 I moved to the Computer Laboratory at Cambridge University, UK as a Research Associate and then moved to the Laboratory for Communications Engineering in the Engineering Department, Cambridge University, as a Senior Research Associate. During my time at Cambridge University I was a consultant for the Olivetti and Oracle Research Laboratory (ORL) (which became the AT&T Research Cambridge in 1998 and has now sadly closed).  In 1999 I moved to Microsoft Research Ltd in Cambridge, UK.

Professional activities:

I have been involved or am on the Program Committee or related for the following workshops and conferences:

EUROSYS 2014 (co-chair), SIGCOMM 2012, SOCC 2012, SOSP 2011, Middleware 2011, MobiHeld 2011, Sigcomm 2010, NSDI 2010, Middleware 2010, MobiHeld 2010, IPTPS 2010, Middleware 2009, PerCom 2009, Workshop co-chair Sigcomm 2009, Middleware 2008, FAST 2008, Middleware 2007, INFOCOM 2007, ACM SIGCOMM 2006, EUROSYS 2006, IPTPS 2006, MobiShare 2006 (co-chair), DSN 2006, INFOCOM 2006, WORLDS 2005, P2P Economics workshop 2005, Euro-par 2005 (Track vice-chair), ICDCS 2005 (Track chair), IEEE INFOCOM 2005, SIGOPS EW 2004, ACM SIGCOMM 2004, WDDDM 2004, Coordination 2004,  ACM SIGCOMM 2003, ACM PODC 2003, IEEE OpenArch 2003,  WWW  2003, SecCo 2003, IPTPS'02 (co-chair),  International Workshop on Peer-to-Peer Computing 2002, WETICE'02, ESAW'01, WETICE'01, ESAW'00

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