Size-based schedulers have very desirable performance properties: optimal or near-optimal response time can be coupled with strong fairness guarantees. Despite this, such systems are very rarely implemented in practical settings, because they require knowing a priori the amount of work needed to complete jobs: this assumption is very difficult to satisfy in concrete systems. It is definitely more likely to inform the system with an estimate of the job sizes, but existing studies point to somewhat pessimistic results if existing scheduler policies are used based on imprecise job size estimations. We take the goal of designing scheduling policies that are explicitly designed to deal with inexact job sizes: first, we show that existing size-based schedulers can have bad performance with inexact job size information when job sizes are heavily skewed; we show that this issue, and the pessimistic results shown in the literature, are due to problematic behavior when large jobs are underestimated. Once the problem is identified, it is possible to amend existing size-based schedulers to solve the issue. We generalize FSP -- a fair and efficient size-based scheduling policy -- in order to solve the problem highlighted above; in addition, our solution deals with different job weights (that can be assigned to a job independently from its size). We provide an efficient implementation of the resulting protocol, which we call Practical Size-Based Scheduler (PSBS). Through simulations evaluated on synthetic and real workloads, we show that PSBS has near-optimal performance in a large variety of cases with inaccurate size information, that it performs fairly and it handles correctly job weights. We believe that this work shows that PSBS is indeed pratical, and we maintain that it could inspire the design of schedulers in a wide array of real-world use cases.
PSBS: Practical size-based scheduling
IEEE Transactions on Computers, Volume 65, N°7, July 2016/ Also on ArXiv:1410.6122v2
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