<%@ Language=JavaScript %> Database Cluster Emulator (DCLUE)

Database Cluster Emulator (DCLUE)


K. Kant, A. Sahoo and N. Jani


DCLUE is a powerful simulator for studying the performance of clustered database systems. It includes detailed simulation of an Oracle-9i like clustered database running a TPC-C like workload. The model implements the following features:

  1. Complete creation of the database tables and their indices and their proper initialization. (Only the required table columns [fields] are represented, but row sizes are modeled correctly).
  2. Emulation of disk IO and buffer cache at each node. Each table & its index are cached separately. Disk IO emulates elevator scheduling, caching and other usual IO features.
  3. All TPC-C queries are implemented in detail according to a query plan. Barring a few short-cuts, each query should actually produce results as in a real database.
  4. Multiversion concurrency control, where each update effectively creates a new data version. This scheme obviates the need for read locks.
  5. Reasonably sophisticated (write) locking mechanism. In particular, locks are acquired in two phases: initial intention locking or latching followed by mass conversion of latches to locks. Locking granularity can extend from page down to row level.
  6. Scheduling of message sends, message receives and application processing are implemented in a way to mimic processing by current operating systems (simplified though). 
  7. Thread switching is implemented explicitly and takes into account the working set and whether the working set fits in the processor cache. Processor caches are not implemented; instead, their impact is accounted for in thread switching overhead.
  8. Queuing and latency impact of processor-memory data transfers are implemented. In particular, latencies of address bus, data bus and memory channels are accounted for in iteratively estimating the CPI (avg cycles per instruction) for the processor.
  9. Oracle 9i like cache fusion architecture which allows pooling of buffer caches from all nodes.  As a result, a lot of local buffer cache misses can be satisfied from some remote buffer cache.
  10. Inter-process communication (IPC) messages between nodes are implemented explicitly and are used for a variety of purposes including locking, directory query/update, data transfer, etc.
  11. Remote disk accesses use iSCSI protocol which itself requires a couple of IPC messages. These are called “storage messages” and are carried on separate TCP connections from regular IPC messages. They may also be carried on a separate fabric.
  12. Logging of all modified data to log disks before a transaction is allowed to commit. Logging could be directed to one or more nodes.


Owing to its very detailed  nature, the model requires a rather fine-grain calibration, which could be difficult, but can be done reasonably for a well studied workloads like TPC-C, TCP/IP processing, iSCSI processing, etc.  On the positive side, however, the model isn't dependent on high level input parameters such as buffer cache hit ratio or number of IPC messages per transaction – things that will be easily invalidated by a change in configuration.

The model is developed using the OPNET simulation package and uses the complete TCP/IP/Ethernet MAC provided by OPNET for networking. DCLUE also supports a rudimentary implementation of SCTP as the transport protocol. For more information on DCLUE, please consult the following papers:

  1. K. Kant and A. Sahoo, “Clustered DBMS Scalability under Unified Ethernet Fabric”, Proc. of ICPP, May 2005, Oslo, Norway
  2. K. Kant, A. Sahoo and N. Jani, “DCLUE: A Distributed Cluster Emulator”, to appear in IEICE Transactions, Special Issue on Parallel/Distributed Computing and Networking, 2006. Also appears in Proc. of 2005 Opnetwork, Washington DC, Aug 2005.

The main use of DCLUE will be in a series of ongoing projects dealing with fabrics for future data centers. In particular, DCLUE will be used to evaluation real application impact of a variety of link level, network level and transport level fabric features. DCLUE can be made available in source form on a request basis.