Fifer: Tackling resource underutilization in the serverless era

Jashwant Raj Gunasekaran, Prashanth Thinakaran, Nachiappan C. Nachiappan, Mahmut Taylan Kandemir, Chita R. Das

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

46 Scopus citations


Datacenters are witnessing a rapid surge in the adoption of serverless functions for microservices-based applications. A vast majority of these microservices typically span less than a second, have strict SLO requirements, and are chained together as per the requirements of an application. The aforementioned characteristics introduce a new set of challenges, especially in terms of container provisioning and management, as the state-of-the-art resource management frameworks, employed in serverless platforms, tend to look at microservice-based applications similar to conventional monolithic applications. Hence, these frameworks suffer from microservice agnostic scheduling and colossal container over-provisioning, especially during workload fluctuations, thereby resulting in poor resource utilization. In this work, we quantify the above shortcomings using a variety of workloads on a multi-node cluster managed by the Kubernetes and Brigade serverless framework. To address them, we propose Fifer Ð an adaptive resource management framework to efficiently manage function-chains on serverless platforms. The key idea is to make Fifer (i) utilization conscious by efficiently bin packing jobs to fewer containers using function-aware container scaling and intelligent request batching, and (ii) at the same time, SLO-compliant by proactively spawning containers to avoid cold-starts, thus minimizing the overall response latency. Combining these benefits, Fifer improves container utilization and cluster-wide energy consumption by 4× and 31%, respectively, without compromising on SLO's, when compared to the state-of-the-art schedulers employed by serverless platforms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMiddleware 2020 - Proceedings of the 2020 21st International Middleware Conference
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781450381536
StatePublished - Dec 7 2020
Event21st International Middleware Conference, Middleware 2020 - Virtual, Online, Netherlands
Duration: Dec 7 2020Dec 11 2020

Publication series

NameMiddleware 2020 - Proceedings of the 2020 21st International Middleware Conference


Conference21st International Middleware Conference, Middleware 2020
CityVirtual, Online

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems
  • Software


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