Usenix Federated Conference Week 2013 Day 2

The second day started on a good note with a presentation from someone at Netflix. He went over the architecture of the systems at Netflix. As all good presentations about cloud infrastructure, we’re talking about 100 billion daily events stored in petabytes data warehouses, thousands of virtual machines, mostly running on Amazon EC2 and continuous deployment on a daily fashion. The speaker provided a good list of books to read which I’ll be sure to investigate.

Most of today’s presentation after that had to do with different mechanisms to control and optimize network, disk and CPU in cloud scenarios. One thing that I found interesting is the huge opportunity for performance improvements. If I cummulate all the potential improvements in hypervisors, we can look at increases from 2 to 5 times at a minimum. Other topics covered included VM preallocation strategies to handle workload spikes without having excessive wasted resources, using IP for all purposes of network virtualization/multitenancy and nested cloud infrastructures.

One topic which I found odd at first is the concept of nested virtualization in a cloud context. The goal is to provide a level of abstraction from the underlying hypervisors in order to provide VM mobility from one cloud provider to another. Ravello is the company with one such hypervisor called HVX.

The last presentation of the day was on security from someone from Columbia University who also work for the FTC. The presentation went over how the current approach to security doesn’t match the threat on the wild. Overall, it was a very good presentation but lacked a bit of advice as to what should be done in practice.

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