DATE 2018
Conference paper

DReDBox: Materializing a full-stack rack-scale system prototype of a next-generation disaggregated datacenter

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Current datacenters are based on server machines, whose mainboard and hardware components form the baseline, monolithic building block that the rest of the system software, middleware and application stack are built upon. This leads to the following limitations: (a) resource proportionality of a multi-tray system is bounded by the basic building block (mainboard), (b) resource allocation to processes or virtual machines (VMs) is bounded by the available resources within the boundary of the mainboard, leading to spare resource fragmentation and inefficiencies, and (c) upgrades must be applied to each and every server even when only a specific component needs to be upgraded. The dRedBox project (Disaggregated Recursive Datacentre-in-a-Box) addresses the above limitations, and proposes the next generation, low-power, across form-factor datacenters, departing from the paradigm of the mainboard-as-a-unit and enabling the creation of function-block-as-a-unit. Hardware-level disaggregation and software-defined wiring of resources is supported by a full-fledged Type-1 hypervisor that can execute commodity virtual machines, which communicate over a low-latency and high-throughput software-defined optical network. To evaluate its novel approach, dRedBox will demonstrate application execution in the domains of network functions virtualization, infrastructure analytics, and real-time video surveillance.