Design and evaluation of a generic software architecture for on-demand video servers

Jonathan Chien Liang Liu, David H.C. Du, Simon S.Y. Shim, Jenwei Hsieh, Meng Jou Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


High-bandwidth and real-time constraints for supporting concurrent video accesses make generic software architecture design for high-performance on-demand video servers challenging. This challenging task can be even more complicated when we consider that a generic software architecture should be applied to different hardware platforms. In this paper, we introduce the design, implementation, and evaluation of a generic software architecture for on-demand video servers. We describe different key components on controlling the storage and network devices within the server. The interactive collaborations between these software components are also illustrated. The experimental results indicate a very promising direction on exploring the right combinations of these software components. The server is, thus, able to increase the number of concurrent video accesses with the same hardware configuration. For instance, with the right combinations, the system achieved about 80 percent of the storage system bandwidth of four disks, about 70 percent of the storage system bandwidth of six disks, and generally reached the maximal achieved SCSI bandwidth when eight disks are used over two SCSI buses (i.e., four disks on each SCSI bus). Our research and experimental results are based on video servers currently under construction across a variety of hardware platforms, including SMP, DMP, and clusters of PC or workstations. The most-advanced prototype server is based on an SGI shared-memory multiprocessor with a mass storage system consisting of RAID-3 disk arrays. With all the enabling/management schemes, we were able to further investigate interesting research issues by considering the user's access profiles for taking advantage of popular video titles. The results were significant, with a range of 60 percent improvement given a 512 Kbyte block size. In addition to the experimental results, theoretical performance models were also developed that closely match to our collected experimental results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)406-424
Number of pages19
JournalIEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1999

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Tsing-Hua University in Taiwan, Republic of China; and an MS degree in 1980 and a PhD in 1981, both in computer science from the University of Washington, Seattle. He is now a professor in the Computer Science Department of the University of Minnesota and a chair professor for US WEST Expertise. He performs research in such areas as multimedia computing and storage systems, high-speed networking, high-performance computing over clusters of workstations, database design, and CAD for VLSI circuits. He has authored or co-authored more than 150 technical papers, including 70 for referreed journal publications in his research areas. He has graduated 33 PhD students in the past 15 years. His research in multimedia computing and storage systems includes video-on-demand server architecture, video and audio synchronization techniques, multimedia storage systems, and multimedia authoring tools. His research in the CAD area includes physical layout, timing verification, and delay fault test for high-speed circuits. His research in high-speed networking includes heterogeneous high-performance computing over high-speed networks, quality of services over ATM networks, communication configuration management, and high-performance computing over a cluster of workstations and PCs. He served as an editor of IEEE Transactions on Computers from 1993 to 1997. He has served as conference chair and program committee chair for several conferences in the multimedia and database areas. He has been awarded research grants from the National Science Foundation and such companies as 3M, NCR Comten, Control Data, Northern Telecom, Unysis, IBM, Seagate Technology, US WEST, and Honeywell. He is a fellow of the IEEE.

Funding Information:
This work is supported, in part, by the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) through AFB Contract No. F19628-94-C-0044; by the National Science Foundation under Grants No. CDA-9502979, No. CDA-9414015, and No. CDA-9422044; and by a gift from IBM. The Distributed Multimedia Research Center (DMRC) is sponsored by U.S. West, Honeywell, IVI Publishing, Computing Devices International, and the Network Systems Corporation of Minnesota.


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