Feeds

Brit boffins use TARDIS to re-route data flows through time and space

'Traffic Assignment and Retiming Dynamics with Inherent Stability' algo can save ISPs big bucks

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

A gaggle of boffins from University College London have proposed a method to cut data carriage costs for internet service providers (ISPs) and have given their idea the name TARDIS, for “Traffic Assignment and Retiming Dynamics with Inherent Stability”.

Described in this paper, the six authors explain that customers of consumer-focussed ISPs (“eyeball ISPs” as they label such operators) do a lot more downloading than uploading. Prudent ISPs try to manage the costs incurred delivering that traffic and “Traditionally, networks have attempted to manage demand through a combination of traffic shaping, artificially curbing demand, and traffic engineering through routing optimisations.”

Of late, the authors note, a new approach has “... considered alternative solutions, moving the incoming traffic in space (by downloading content from different physical locations) or in time (by shifting delay-tolerant traffic to the off-peak).”

Doing so can save some cash, the paper reports, but directing traffic towards the cheapest link or least-busy periods is too crude a way to go about things and may actually degrade performance.

Enter TARDIS, which touches down with its usual dramatic flourish, proposing a “control algorithm” to manage data across space and time in order to save an ISP money or avoid congestion on the links it uses.

Here's how the authors describe TARDIS' functions:

“TARDIS is given as input a cost model (details of how the ISP is to be charged for its traffic) and the available choices for a given piece of traffic (the times and locations to which that traffic could be assigned, which of course, includes the possibility it cannot move at all). The TARDIS model then computes splitting rates which describe the desired proportion of traffic from the choice set which should be assigned to each time and location.”

TARDIS' engine is the Shapely value, described in the text as “a concept from game theory which assesses the contribution of a user’s strategy to an overall cost/benefit.”

The paper describes how the value is pressed into operation with some dense-looking equations your correspondent is not qualified to comment upon and appears to conclude that, like Doctor Who's TARDIS, the mathematical TARDIS isn't the most reliable machine.

That's because the team had trouble getting its hands on enough data – describing traffic and the traffic costs charged to ISPs – to be sure its algorithm worked.

But using the assumptions the team was able to make, they found that “In the majority of cases a large financial saving is possible. Time shifting appears to create a considerable saving in most situations. Space shifting creates a saving in all situations except those where all links are equally priced and traffic is split equally across all links.”

The team hopes it can one day get its hands on better data to again test TARDIS, in the hope it proves a real-world solution. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
It's Big, it's Blue... it's simply FABLESS! IBM's chip-free future
Or why the reversal of globalisation ain't gonna 'appen
'Hmm, why CAN'T I run a water pipe through that rack of media servers?'
Leaving Las Vegas for Armenia kludging and Dubai dune bashing
Microsoft and Dell’s cloud in a box: Instant Azure for the data centre
A less painful way to run Microsoft’s private cloud
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
CAGE MATCH: Microsoft, Dell open co-located bit barns in Oz
Whole new species of XaaS spawning in the antipodes
AWS pulls desktop-as-a-service from the PC
Support for PCoIP protocol means zero clients can run cloudy desktops
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.