Brownout: Building More Robust Cloud Applications

Cristian Klein, Martina Maggio, Karl-Erik Årzén, Francisco Hernández-Rodriguez

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper, not in proceedingpeer-review


Self-adaptation is a first class concern for cloud applications, which should be able to withstand diverse runtime changes. Variations are simultaneously happening both at the cloud infrastructure level - for example hardware failures - and at the user workload level - flash crowds. However, robustly withstanding extreme variability, requires costly hardware over-provisioning.

In this paper, we introduce a self-adaptation programming paradigm called brownout. Using this paradigm, applications can be designed to robustly withstand unpredictable runtime variations, without over-provisioning. The paradigm is based on optional code that can be dynamically deactivated through decisions based on control theory.

We modified two popular web application prototypes - RUBiS and RUBBoS - with less than 170 lines of code, to make them brownout-compliant. Experiments show that brownout self-adaptation dramatically improves the ability to withstand flash-crowds and hardware failures.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2014
Event36th International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE) - Hyderabad, India
Duration: 2014 May 31 → …


Conference36th International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE)
Period2014/05/31 → …

Bibliographical note

Accepted for publication at ICSE 2014.

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Control Engineering


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