Thomas A. Henzinger, Anmol V. Singh, Vasu Singh, Thomas Wies, and Damien Zufferey
Cloud computing aims to give users virtually unlimited pay-per-use computing resources without the burden of managing the underlying infrastructure. We claim that, in order to realize the full potential of cloud computing, the user must be presented with a pricing model that offers flexibility at the requirements level, such as a choice between different degrees of execution speed and the cloud provider must be presented with a programming model that offers flexibility at the execution level, such as a choice between different scheduling policies. In such a flexible framework, with each job, the user purchases a virtual computer with the desired speed and cost characteristics, and the cloud provider can optimize the utilization of resources across a stream of jobs from different users. We designed a flexible framework to test our hypothesis, which is called FlexPRICE (Flexible Provisioning of Resources in a Cloud Environment) and works as follows. A user presents a job to the cloud. The cloud finds different schedules to execute the job and presents a set of quotes to the user in terms of price and duration for the execution. The user then chooses a particular quote and the cloud is obliged to execute the job according to the chosen quote. FlexPRICE thus hides the complexity of the actual scheduling decisions from the user, but still provides enough flexibility to meet the users actual demands. We implemented FlexPRICE in a simulator called PRICES that allows us to experiment with our framework. We observe that FlexPRICE provides a wide range of execution options ---from fast and expensive to slow and cheap--- for the whole spectrum of data-intensive and computation-intensive jobs. We also observe that the set of quotes computed by FlexPRICE do not vary as the number of simultaneous jobs increases.
IEEE Conference on Cloud Computing (IEEE Cloud), 2010.