14.Distributed Systems Management

by Emil Lupu (Imperial College, UK)

Link to the SOTA Chapter

Ongoing Research

The research efforts towards providing guaranteed Quality of Service and reliable communications in multiservice networks are still relentless. Current investigations focus on Traffic Engineering (including load measurement and modelling) [Wolfinger 2002a, Wolfinger 2002b], policy-based management, and the provision of adaptive and programmable networks. Policy-based management is seen as an important technique towards providing uniform control of network resources and driving the adaptation of QoS mechanisms [Llymberopoulos 2002] according to changes in application requirements, variations in network usage or in response to failures and performance degradations. Advances have been made towards policy specification [Damianou, 2001], policy deployment [Dulay 2001], and the implementation of tools for policy-based systems [Damianou, 2002]. Application level adaptation techniques such as adaptive video encoding and information dispersal have also been investigated [Richter 2001]. In parallel with the work on network QoS substantial efforts are being devoted towards the development of reliable, fault tolerant architectures and control mechanisms for a variety of application areas including in the automotive industry. A significant theme across many of the ongoing studies is the development of new techniques and infrastructures capable of providing adaptive behaviour at both the application and the network level in large distributed systems. This work is becoming even more critical in mobile and ubiquitous systems which are characterised by numerous dynamic changes in network connectivity, usage context and service availability.

Future Directions

Work towards providing QoS in multiservice networks will certainly continue although there is a need for better integration between the network provisioning, traffic engineering, and management systems.

Increasing emphasis is placed on the development of mobile and ubiquitous computing environments. Entities in these environments must exhibit a high degree of "intelligence" by adapting both their requirements and their behaviour to frequent changes in their environment and the context in which they evolve. Frequently, entities in these environments such as laptops, PDAs or embedded computers have limited resources and limited network communication capabilities. Management in such environments is a significant challenge as the need for adaptability, programmability and context awareness is exacerbated. To address these issues new techniques for providing dynamically adaptable control in embedded devices are necessary and highly dynamic management frameworks which combine a variety of adaptation mechanisms and techniques must be defined. The scale and widespread deployment of such systems will require new self-managing devices which can collaborate within the context of self-managed and dynamic coalitions.

Increasing security concerns have emphasised the need for environments where security is not the result of a static configuration manually changed by a system administrator but where the security system continuously adapts and reacts to events such as failures, intrusions and interactions with other systems. This requires a better integration between the management and the security systems and renewed efforts towards adaptive security management.

CaberNet Related Activities

Imperial College's area within this project is in policies for security and management of programmable (active) and adaptive networks for telecommunications.

BMAN will investigate the application of mobile computation models in business processes to the configuration, management and execution of distributed workflow systems for inter-enterprise B2B e-business; new business models and best business practices, exploiting mobile systems and software for business process modelling, are expected to be developed.

The objective of this project is to design a brake by wire system based on a Time Triggered Architecture and a bridge for a light control subsystem based on CAN network.

Best effort networks typically are not able to satisfy any quality of service (QoS) guarantees regarding (minimum) packet throughput, (maximum) packet delay or delay jitter. Therefore, these networks have to be modified in order to be able to support real-time communications. In this project we elaborate new techniques for fault-tolerance which allow one to accept some deficiencies in network quality (e.g. packet losses). The techniques we investigated and analyzed are either part of some dedicated middleware or they are directly supported by the distributed applications. In case of audio / video communications, which has been the focus of our studies up to now, we are analyzing, in detail, techniques such as FEC, adaptive video encoding, information dispersal, traffic smoothing as well as combinations of these techniques [Richter 2001], [Wolfinger 2001]. Both, quantitative and qualitative assessments of the improvement in video quality are focal points of our research [Heidtmann 2001].

The project's mission is to establish collaborations between UK industrialists and academics to further the science and engineering of service creation and management in telecommunications.

The objective of this project is to develop a distributed fault tolerant architecture for a mobile robot control. This architecture uses a vision and a wireless subsystem and motion control subsystem interconnected by a fibre optics area network (CAN).

The objective of this project is to develop a microcontroller and FPGA systems to control a laser system and vision system to take pictures of injection process inside a cylinder in a diesel engine.


[Damianou 2001] N. Damianou , N. Dulay, E. Lupu and M. Sloman. The Ponder Policy Specification Language. In Proceedings of the Policy Workshop 2001, Bristol, UK, Jan. 2001, Springer Verlag, Lecture Notes in Computer Science vol. 1995.

[Damianou 2002] N. Damianou, N. Dulay, E. Lupu, M. Sloman and T. Tonouchi. Policy Tools for Domain Based Distributed Systems Management. IFIP/IEEE Symposium on Network Operations and Management. Florence, Italy, Apr. 2002.

[Dulay 2001] N. Dulay , E. Lupu, M. Sloman and N. Damianou. A Policy Deployment Model for the Ponder Language. In Proceedings of the IFIP/IEEE Symposium on Integrated Network Management (IM 2001), Seattle, USA, May 2001.

[Heidtmann 2001] K. Heidtmann, J. Kerse, T. Suchanek, B.E. Wolfinger, M. Zaddach. “Fehlertolerante Videokommunikation über verlustbehaftete Paketvermittlungsnetze“. GI-Fachtagung "Kommunikation in Verteilten Systemen" (KiVS 2001). Hamburg, Germany. Springer-Verlag. February 2001.

[Lymberopoulos, 2002] L. Lymberopoulos, E. Lupu and M. Sloman. "An Adaptive Policy-Based Framework for Differentiated Services Networks". IEEE 3rd International Workshop on Policies for Distributed Systems and Networks (Policy 2002). Monterey, USA, June 2002.

[Richter 2001] J.P.Richter. "Spezifikations- und Messmethodik für ein adaptives Dienstgütemanagement". GI-Fachtagung "Kommunikation in Verteilten Systemen" (KiVS 2001). Hamburg, Germany. Springer-Verlag. February 2001.

[Wolfinger 2001] B.E. Wolfinger, M. Zaddach. “Techniques to Improve Quality-of-Service in Video Communications via Best Effort Networks“. IEEE International Conference on Networking (ICN '01). Colmar. July 2001.

[Wolfinger 2002a] B.E. Wolfinger, P.J. Kühn (eds.). Special Issue “Internet Traffic Engineering“. Praxis der Informationsverarbeitung und Kommunikation (PIK) 24(2). June 2002.

[Wolfinger 2002b] B.E. Wolfinger, M. Zaddach, K. Heidtmann, G. Bai. “Analytical Modeling of Primary and Secondary Load as Induced by Video Applications Using UDP/IP“. Computer Communications Journal 25(11-12). July 2002. pp. 1094-1102.

[Zaddach 2001a] M. Zaddach. “Modellierung, Charakterisierung und Transformation von Videover-kehrslasten“. Dissertation, Fachbereich Informatik, Univ. Hamburg. Berichte aus dem Forschungsschwerpunkt Telekommunikation und Rechnernetze, Band 2. Wolfinger B.E. (ed.) Shaker-Verlag. Aachen, Germany. 2001.

[Zaddach 2001b] M. Zaddach, K. Heidtmann. “Measurement and Traffic Characterization of H.26x-coded Video Streams“. Procedings oft the 11th GI/ITG Conference on Measuring, Modelling and Evaluation of Computer and Communication Systems (MMB '01). Aachen, Germany. VDE-Verlag. Berlin, Germany. September 2001.

[Zaddach 2002] M. Zaddach, B.E. Wolfinger, N. Krämer, K. Heidtmann. “Lasttransformation und ihre Einsatzmöglichkeiten zur Verkehrsprognose in Intranets und im Internet“. Praxis der Informationsverarbeitung und Kommunikation (PIK) 24(2). June 2002. pp. 73-81.

[Ziviani2002] A. Ziviani, B.E. Wolfinger, J.F. de Rezende, O.C.M.B. Duarte, S. Fdida. “On the Combined Adoption of QoS Schemes to Improve the Delivery Quality of MPEG Video Streams“. 2002 International Symposium on Performance Evaluation of Computer and Telecommunication Systems (SPECTS 2002). San Diego, CA, USA. July 2002.

Maintained by Rogério de Lemos (r.delemos@ukc.ac.uk)
Last updated 4 November, 2002