Socket Buffer Auto-Sizing for High-Performance Data Transfers
Prasad, Ravi S.
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It is often claimed that TCP is not a suitable transport protocol for data intensive Grid applications in high-performance networks. We argue that this is not necessarily the case. Without changing the TCP protocol, congestion control, or implementation, we show that an appropriately tuned TCP bulk transfer can saturate the available bandwidth of a network path. The proposed technique, called SOBAS, is based on automatic socket buffer sizing at the application layer. In non-congested paths, SOBAS limits the socket buffer size based on direct measurements of the received throughput and of the corresponding round-trip time. The key idea is that the send window should be limited, after the transfer has saturated the available bandwidth in the path, so that the transfer does not cause buffer overflows ("self-induced losses"). A difference with other socket buffer sizing schemes is that SOBAS does not require prior knowledge of the path characteristics, and it can be performed while the transfer is in progress. Experimental results in several high bandwidth-delay product paths show that SOBAS provides consistently a significant throughput increase (20% to 80%) compared to TCP transfers that use the maximum possible socket buffer size. We expect that SOBAS will be mostly useful for applications such as GridFTP in non-congested wide-area networks.
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