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Colloquium on Digital Transformation Science

  • September 30, 3 pm CT

    Challenges & Opportunities in Cloud Operations Research

    Ishai Menache, Senior Principal Research Manager, Microsoft Research


    Cloud computing is a multi-billion-dollar business that has revolutionized the way computing resources are consumed. The emergence of cloud computing is attributed to lowering the risks for end-users (e.g., scaling-out resource usage based on demand), while allowing providers to reduce costs by managing compute resources at scale. In this talk, we will provide an overview of some of the challenges faced by providers at different dimensions of cloud operations. We will highlight the role of operations research and algorithms in increasing efficiency and return on investment of cloud infrastructure. As a concrete example, we zoom in on the Virtual Machine (VM) allocation problem, one of the fundamental problems in this area. VMs need to be assigned to physical machines in a way that reduces fragmentation and efficiently utilizes available machines. Motivated by advances in machine learning that provide good estimates of workload characteristics, we consider the effect of having extra information in the form of VM lifetimes and future demand. We show that even basic information about demand (e.g., its average) leads to algorithms with significantly better guarantees.

    Ishai Menache received his PhD in Electrical Engineering from the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology. He was a Postdoctoral Associate at the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems (LIDS) at MIT. Ishai has been with Microsoft Research since 2011, where he is the founder and manager of the Cloud Operations Research (CORE) group. His research focuses on developing large-scale optimization frameworks for cloud systems and applications. More broadly, his areas of interest include systems and networking, optimization, and machine learning.

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