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High Performance in the Cloud with FPGA Groups

  • Iordache, Anca
  • Pierre, Guillaume
  • Sanders, Peter
  • Coutinho, Jose Gabriel de F.
  • Stillwell, Mark
Publication Date
Dec 06, 2016
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Field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) can offer invaluable computational performance for many compute-intensive algorithms. However, to justify their purchase and administration costs it is necessary to maximize resource utilization over their expected lifetime. Making FPGAs available in a cloud environment would make them attractive to new types of users and applications and help democratize this increasingly popular technology. However, there currently exists no satisfactory technique for offering FPGAs as cloud resources and sharing them between multiple tenants. We propose FPGA groups, which are seen by their clients as a single virtual FPGA, and which aggregate the computational power of multiple physical FPGAs. FPGA groups are elastic, and they may be shared among multiple tenants. We present an autoscaling algorithm to maximize FPGA groups' resource utilization and reduce user-perceived computation latencies. FPGA groups incur a low overhead in the order of 0.09ms per submitted task. When faced with a challenging workload, the autoscaling algorithm increases resource utilization from 52% to 61% compared to a static resource allocation, while reducing task execution latencies by 61%.

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