MIT's FASTPASS Solves Network Data Center Lag Time (Surprise!)

Mike Allen
July 18, 2014

"It should a no-brainer, but, it's still considered news, MIT has, again, come up with a way to do something smarter, faster and better, this time: a way to plug and play or ""Fast Track"" your data center.
No Not THAT FastPass, MIT's FastPass, But Close

The brains at MIT call it FASTPASS and it should all but eliminate queue length in data center networking.

The technology will be completely explained at the annual conference of the ACM special interest group in Data Communications.

According to sources at MIT: ""Fastpass will: use a centralized arbiter to analyze network traffic holistically and make routing decisions based on that analysis, in contrast to the more decentralized protocols common today.""

Professor Hari Balakrishnan, a co-author of the paper, admitted: ""It's not obvious that this is a good idea,"" when asked about the problem of network lag.

In trials, at Facebook data centers, using Fastpass arbiter with just eight cores, a network transmitting w a whopping 2.2 terabits of data per second is manageable!

Another issue arose, the one that graduate student, Johnathan Perry, who also helped co-author the paper, went on to explain, ""'¦won't nodes spend a lot of time communicating with the central hub?""

According to Perry: ""'¦if you have to pay these maybe 40 microseconds to go to the arbiter, can you really gain much from the whole scheme, well, surprisingly, you can!""

""The trick'¦"" Perry said: ""'¦is a new way of dividing up the processing power needed to calculate transmission timings among multiple cores. In essence, Fastpass organizes workloads by time slot, rather than by source and destination pair. A core gets its own time slot, and schedules requests to the first free servers it can find, passing everything else on to the next core, which follows suit.""

One thing to note: the paper is right now just a paper. Well, not just a paper it's an MIT paper, and it's one that is Game-Changing and will cause a ton of buzz, BUT Fastpass is not yet ready for roll out or even everyday betatesting.

According to Balakrishnan: ""'¦this paper is not intended to show that you can build this in the world's largest data centers today, but the question as to whether a more scalable centralized system can be built, we think the answer is yes.""
FastPass in Action
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    Mike Allen

    "It should a no-brainer, but, it's still considered news, MIT has, again, come up with a way to do something smarter, faster and better, this time: a way to plug and play or ""Fast Track"" your data center. No Not THAT FastPass, MIT's FastPass, But Close The brains at MIT ...