Simulation for Cloud Data Centres


Cloud computing data centres are complex systems with a high degree of heterogeneity and a large number of different elements (e.g. racks, nodes, hard disk drives, virtual machines) with various forms of interactions and dependencies. Any system with these characteristics is exceptionally difficult to manage as any decision to make a change or react to an exception can have significant operational and cost implications.

To support decisions of this nature, the inherent relationships within the system must be understood and incorporated into an evaluation process. The use of CactoSim gives the ability to model system behaviour and produce information for large-scale data centres without starting a single Virtual Machine.

Watch CactoSim in action

CactoSim is currently released as Version 2, the "CactoSim Intermediate Prototype" release. This release provides closer integration between simulation and the real data centre components, as part of the CACTOS project. The focus falls upon deeper integration with the CactoScale monitoring framework and additional new features of integrating with the CACTOS Runtime Toolkit.

CactoSim plays the role of a context-aware decision-support tool for data centre management. Data centre operators are able to retrieve up-to-date automatically created models of heterogeneous hardware and virtual landscape components from the Runtime Model Storage provided by CactoScale.

By using CactoSim, these obtained real system models then can adapted further in order to validate and evaluate optimisation algorithms provided by CactoOpt via what-if-analyses. Produced results, in the form of simulated predictions, are derived from collected historical system data such as resource utilisation, usage patterns, energy consumption and existing optimisation strategies.

The CactoSim Intermediate Prototype is made available under the Eclipse Public License, EPL Version 1.0.


CactoSim Key Features

  • Automatically create simulation models of your Cloud data centre

  • Experiment with application behaviour models

  • Estimate and analyse Cloud data centre Energy usage

  • Understand and analyse resource utilisation

  • Support for bottleneck identification

  • Run "what-if" analysis at design time

  • Support for the creation of more robust optimisation algorithms

  • Run simulations automatically populated with live data

  • Provide decision support to aid in avoiding unnecessary equipment aquisition

  • Aid in the planning and design of a data centre

How to Install CactoSim

The following are basic instructions that will get you up and running with CactoSim. We have included instructions for running a demonstration to give you an idea of how it works. Please download the user guide (at the bottom of this webpage) for more detailed instructions.

Download and Install:

  • Download Eclipse Mars R1 Modeling Tools Edition here

  • Install MMT QVTo here

  • Install CactoSim via one of the update sites here (nightly) or here (latest)

  • Download this and insert into the configuration subfolder of the Eclipse directory

  • Modify your eclipse.ini by appending the following lines at the very end:

Run a Demonstration:

  • Configure cactoopt_optimisationalgorithm.cfg in the config folder to your liking, i.e. by setting the algorithm to LinKernighan or Random. This can be done while the platform is running, so no need to restart when you change the optimisation settings.

  • Boot up Eclipse and import our demo project here

  • Run the Eclipse launch configuration for the Demo: "Year 2 Demonstration.launch"

  • Wait for the simulation to finish

  • Analyse the results in the EDP2 -> Experiments view



CactoSim presented by DCU at the National Conference for Cloud
Computing and Commerce (NC4), April 2015, Dublin, Ireland

Get CactoSim

The second version of CactoSim has been released. Using the following link, you can download a version for users or a version for developers, with the latest stable release being CactoSim V2.1.0

Read the Guide Document

The CactoSim Guide provides the reader with information about where to download CactoSim, how to install CactoSim, licensing information about how to use CactoSim, with related examples. You can download the guide at the following link.