Erlang overload/bandwidth limitation (JOBS?)

Jesper Louis Andersen <>
Tue Nov 23 13:20:33 CET 2010


Hi List,

The etorrent application, a bittorrent client for erlang, is in need
of some load balancing in two ways, which I describe below, and I need
a tool to do some load balancing in the two cases. Are there any
suggestions besides using the Erlang Solutions JOBS application for
the task?

Case 1: The client can handle multiple torrents at once. When you
start off on a torrent and you find a file existing in the download
directory matching the name and size of what you want, you have to
check it. This check is running SHA1 checksums over the whole file and
thus puts quite a burden on the disk IO subsystem of the computer. In
the lucky case that we already did some checking and the file passes a
sanity check, we can look up a lot of the checking result in a
persistent table - but in general we have to go over the file. To not
trash the disk we only want to allow a single torrent to be checked at
a time.

The current solution is ugly. A token is passed among the torrents who
wants checking and he who has the token may check. There are some
monitoring going on to ensure that if we loose the token, we reinject
a new one in the system. As such, there is some reminiscence of a
token ring configuration.

JOBS seems like a good fit for this case: Add a job queue with a
severe limitation of 1. Fire off a job to the queue (which you make
large enough that it can hold the pending jobs) which is the actual
checking code. Done.

Case 2: Upstream bandwidth limitation. TCP will by default eat all of
a lines upstream bandwidth, which unfortunately includes ACK-packets
needed for the downstream. The usual trick is to put some limitation
to how much you send out from the client to crudely steer the
connection. A very big problem here is that most internet connections
from homes have cheap routers in front of them and these have a small
buffer of, say, 8 packets. Any more packets arriving are simply
dropped from the router. This makes TCP sad and erratic such that it
cannot really do its job too well. There is an UDP based protocol
extension, μTP, which attempt to battle this problem directly but that
protocol is a bit out in the future, hence the bandwidth limitation.

The question is, can JOBS or some other overload framework be easily
adapted to this scenario?

Discussion: Basically, you have a lot of willing senders contending
for a global upstream bandwidth resource. You allow them access to the
resource but you don't want one sender to claim all of the resource.
Hence you can round-robin schedule the bandwidth in smaller chunks or
use RED - random early detection; in which the greatest hoarder runs a
larger risk of being denied bandwidth. I don't know if the JOBS
framework can do this in full or in part.


-- 
J.


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