Efficient batched synchronization in dropbox-like cloud storage services

Zhenhua Li, Christo Wilson, Zhefu Jiang, Yao Liu, Ben Y. Zhao, Cheng Jin, Zhi-Li Zhang, Yafei Dai

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

61 Scopus citations


As tools for personal storage, file synchronization and data sharing, cloud storage services such as Dropbox have quickly gained popularity. These services provide users with ubiquitous, reliable data storage that can be automatically synced across multiple devices, and also shared among a group of users. To minimize the network overhead, cloud storage services employ binary diff, data compression, and other mechanisms when transferring updates among users. However, despite these optimizations, we observe that in the presence of frequent, short updates to user data, the network traffic generated by cloud storage services often exhibits pathological inefficiencies. Through comprehensive measurements and detailed analysis, we demonstrate that many cloud storage applications generate session maintenance traffic that far exceeds the useful update traffic. We refer to this behavior as the traffic overuse problem. To address this problem, we propose the update-batched delayed synchronization (UDS) mechanism. Acting as a middleware between the user's file storage system and a cloud storage application, UDS batches updates from clients to significantly reduce the overhead caused by session maintenance traffic, while preserving the rapid file synchronization that users expect from cloud storage services. Furthermore, we extend UDS with a backwards compatible Linux kernel modification that further improves the performance of cloud storage applications by reducing the CPU usage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMiddleware 2013 - ACM/IFIP/USENIX 14th International Middleware Conference, Proceedings
Number of pages21
StatePublished - 2013
Event14th ACM/IFIP/USENIX Middleware Conference, Middleware 2013 - Beijing, China
Duration: Dec 9 2013Dec 13 2013

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume8275 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Other14th ACM/IFIP/USENIX Middleware Conference, Middleware 2013


  • Cloud storage service
  • Data synchronization
  • Dropbox
  • Traffic overuse


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