Credit-Scheduled Delay-Bounded Congestion Control for Datacenters


Small RTTs (∼10s of usec), bursty flow arrivals, and a large number of concurrent flows (1,000s) in datacenters bring fundamental challenges to congestion control as they either force a flow to send at most one packet per RTT or induce a large queue build-up. The widespread use of shallow buffered switches also makes the problem more challenging with hosts generating many flows in bursts. In addition, as link speeds increase, algorithms that gradually probe for bandwidth take a long time to reach the fair-share. An ideal datacenter congestion control must provide 1) zero data loss, 2) fast convergence, 3) low buffer occupancy, and 4) high utilization. However, these requirements present conflicting goals. This paper presents a new radical approach, called ExpressPass, an end-to-end credit-scheduled, delay-bounded congestion control for datacenters. ExpressPass uses credit packets to control congestion even before sending data packets, which enables us to achieve bounded delay and fast convergence. It gracefully handles bursty flow arrivals. We implement ExpressPass using commodity switches and provide evaluations using testbed experiments and simulations. ExpressPass converges up to 80 times faster than DCTCP in 10 Gbps links, and the gap increases as link speeds become faster. It greatly improves performance under heavy incast workloads and significantly reduces the flow completion times, especially, for small and medium size flows compared to DCQCN, DCTCP, HULL, and DX under realistic workloads.