FlowPuter: A Cluster Architecture Unifying Switch, Server, and Storage Processing

Alfred V. Aho, Angelos D. Keromytis, Vishal Misra, Jason Nieh, Kenneth A. Ross, Yechiam Yemini

Proceedings of the 1st International Workshop on Data Processing and Storage Networking: Towards Grid Computing (DPSN 2004), Athens, Greece, May 14, 2004, pp. 2/1-2/7


We present a novel cluster architecture that unifies switch, server and storage processing to achieve a level of price-performance and simplicity of application development not achievable with current architectures. Our architecture takes advantage of the increasing disparity between storage capacity, network switching on the one hand, and processing power of modern processors and architectures on the other. We propose the use of Network Processors (NPUs), which can apply simple classify/act/forward operations on data packets at wire speeds, to split processing of operations such as complex database queries across a network. We quantify the theoretical benefits of such an architecture over traditional server-cluster approaches using warehouse database queries as a motivating application. We also discuss the challenges such an architecture presents to programming language design and implementation, performance analysis, and security.



Columbia University Department of Computer Science