Computer servers now able to retrieve data much faster

January 30, 2020

Computer scientists at the University of Waterloo have found a novel approach that significantly improves the storage efficiency and output speed of computer systems.

Current data storage systems use only one storage server to process information, making them slow to retrieve information to display for the user. A backup server only becomes active if the main storage server fails.

The new approach, called FLAIR, optimizes data storage systems by using all the servers within a given network. Therefore, when a user makes a data request, if the main server is full, another server automatically activates to fill it.

"The key enabler for FLAIR is the recent introduction of programmable networks," said Samer Al-Kiswany, a professor in Waterloo's David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science and co-author of the study introducing the FLAIR technique. "Since the invention of computers, networks that connect storage servers in any system were rigid and inflexible. FLAIR leverages a new cutting-edge networking technology to build a smart network layer that can find the fastest way to fulfil information retrieval requests. Our evaluation shows that this approach can fulfil requests up to 2.5 times faster, compared to classical designs."

In developing the new protocol, the researchers first had to prove its correctness and formally verify it to ensure the approach will not return bad results. They were able to test FLAIR with real workloads on campus, as Waterloo is one of the few universities that have a cluster with the new programmable network.

Al-Kiswany and his team found that FLAIR increased retrieval speeds by anywhere from 35 to 97 percent.

"This will lead to a whole range of applications as this type of system is the core building block of a wide range of applications," said Ibrahim Kettaneh, the graduate student leading the FLAIR development. "FLAIR can significantly improve the performance of databases and data processing engines, which are the backends for health systems, banking systems and financial transactions. It will also be applicable to any modern computer application hosted on the cloud, such as online documents, social networks and emails."

The study, FLAIR: Accelerating Reads with Consistency-Aware Network Routing, authored by Waterloo's Faculty of Mathematics' Al-Kiswany and his graduate students; Kettaneh, Ahmed Alquraan and Hatem Takruri, will be presented at the USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design Implementation to be held in Santa Clara, USA from February 25-27.
-end-


University of Waterloo

Related Health Systems Articles from Brightsurf:

Nervous systems of insects inspire efficient future AI systems
Study explores functions of fruit fly's nervous system in food seeking / results valuable for the development and control of artificial intelligence.

ED visits, hospital admissions in health care systems in early months of COVID-19 pandemic
Changes in emergency department visits and hospitalizations as the COVID-19 pandemic intensified in the U.S. are examined in this observational study that included 24 emergency departments in five health care systems in Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and North Carolina.

Partnerships with health systems can provide support to nursing homes during pandemic
Meaningful partnerships between hospitals and nursing facilities can support better quality of care for people who live in the facilities.

Repurposing public health systems to decode COVID-19
Research published in the journal Microbial Genomics describes how national surveillance systems can be linked with the UK Biobank.

Modeling the trajectory of COVID-19 cases in settings with weaker health systems
A new modeling study evaluating unfolding COVID-19 epidemics among different income countries reports that, in lower income countries, even if risk is reduced because populations are younger, this benefit is largely negated by limited health system capacity and closer inter-generational contact.

Illuminating the impact of COVID-19 on hospitals and health systems
In the third week of March 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic escalated, large hospitals in the Northeast experienced a 26 percent decline in average per-facility revenues based on estimated in-network amounts as compared to the same period in 2019.

Public health systems hold promise for aging populations, journal finds
In 'Aging and Public Health,' a new special issue of the journal Innovation in Aging from The Gerontological Society of America, researchers look at public health interventions that work to foster healthy aging.

COVID-19 response plan addresses unique challenges for rural hospitals and health systems
Surgeons at one rural health care system on both sides of the New York-Pennsylvania border have reported on their preparedness response plan for dealing with the COVID-19 surge.

Brassica crops best for crop rotation and soil health in potato production systems
Crop rotation is vital to any crop production system. Rotating crops maintains crop productivity and soil health by replenishing organic matter, nutrients, soil structure, and other properties while also improving water management and reducing erosion.

Moral distress and moral strength among clinicians in health care systems
Nurse burnout impacts both nurses and patients, and significantly influences the retention of nurses in the healthcare setting, research shows.

Read More: Health Systems News and Health Systems Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.