Brownout: Building More Robust Cloud Applications

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper, not in proceeding


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.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Control Engineering
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2014
Publication categoryResearch
Event36th International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE) - Hyderabad, India
Duration: 2014 May 31 → …


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

Bibliographic note

Accepted for publication at ICSE 2014.