New network-management system reduces data-transmission delays by 99.6%

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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Big websites usually maintain their own “data centers,” banks of tens or even hundreds of thousands of servers, all passing data back and forth to field users’ requests. Like any big, decentralized network, data centers are prone to congestion: Packets of data arriving at the same router at the same time are put in a queue, and if the queues get too long, packets can be delayed.

CSAIL researchers recently developed a new network-management system called "Fastpass" that, in experiments, reduced the average queue length of routers in a Facebook data center by 99.6 percent — virtually doing away with queues. When network traffic was heavy, the average latency — the delay between the request for an item of information and its arrival — shrank nearly as much, from 3.56 microseconds to 0.23 microseconds.

Read more at MIT News about the research by Professors Hari Balakrishnan and Devavrat Shah, CSAIL graduate students Jonathan Perry and Amy Ousterhout, and Hans Fugal of Facebook: http://bit.ly/WjO2nG

More in Computer World and ZDNet.