Requirements of Multimedia Kernels




Requirements of Multimedia Kernels

 As a result of the characteristics described in Section 20.1.2, multimedia applications often require levels of service from the operating system that differ from the requirements of traditional applications, such as word processors, compilers, and spreadsheets.

 Timing and rate requirements are perhaps the issues of foremost concern, as the playback of audio and video data demands that the data be delivered within a certain deadline and at a continuous, fixed rate. Traditional applications typically do not have such time and rate constraints.

 Tasks that request data at constant intervals—or periods—are known as periodic processes. For example, an MPEG-1 video might require a rate of 30 frames per second during playback. Maintaining this rate requires that a frame be delivered approximately every 1/30"' or 3.34 hundredths of a second. To put this in the context of deadlines, let's assume that frame Fj succeeds frame F; in the video playback and that frame F, was displayed at time To.

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 The deadline for displaying frame Fj is 3.34 hundredths of a second after time To. If the operating system is unable to display the frame by this deadline, the frame will be omitted from the stream. As mentioned earlier, rate requirements and deadlines are known as quality of service (QoS) requirements. There are three QoS levels:

1. Best-effort service. The system makes a best-effort attempt to satisfy the requirements; however, no guarantees are made.

2. Soft QoS. This level treats different types of traffic in different ways, giving certain traffic streams higher priority than other streams. However, just as with best-effort service, no guarantees are made.

3. Hard QoS. The quality-of-service requirements are guaranteed. Traditional operating systems—the systems we have discussed in this text so far—typically provide only best-effort service and rely on overprovisioning; that is, they simply assume that the total amount of resources available will tend to be larger than a worst-case workload would demand.

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 If demand exceeds resource capacity, manual intervention must take place, and a process (or several processes) must be removed from the system. However next-generation multimedia systems cannot make such assumptions. These systems must provide continuous-media applications with the guarantees made possible by hard QoS.

Therefore, in the remainder of this discussion, when we refer to QoS, we mean hard QoS. Next, we explore various techniques that enable multimedia systems to provide such service-level guarantees. There are a number of parameters defining QoS for multimedia applications, including the following:

• Throughput. Throughput is the total amount of work done during a certain interval. For multimedia applications, throughput is the required data rate.  

Delay. Delay refers to the elapsed time from when a request is first submitted to when the desired result is produced. For example, the time from when a client requests a media stream to when the stream is delivered is the delay. » Jitter. Jitter is related to delay; but whereas delay refers to the time a client must wait to receive a stream, jitter refers to delays that occur during playback of the stream. Certain multimedia applications, such as on-demand real-time streaming, can tolerate this sort of delay. Jitter is generally considered unacceptable for continuous-media applications, however, because it may mean long pauses—or lost frames—during playback. Clients can often compensate for jitter by buffering a certain amount of data—say, 5 seconds' worth—before beginning playback.

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• Reliability. Reliability refers to how errors are handled during transmission and processing of continuous media. Errors may occur due to lost packets in the network or processing delays by the CPU. In these—and other—scenarios, errors cannot be corrected, since packets typically arrive too late to be useful.

The quality of service may be negotiated between the client and the server. For example, continuous-media data may be compressed at different levels of quality: the higher the quality, the higher the required data rate.

 A client may negotiate a specific data rate with a server, thus agreeing to a certain level of quality during playback. Furthermore, many media players allow the client to configure the player according to the speed of the client's connection to the network. This allows a client to receive a streaming service at a data rate specific to a particular connection. Thus, the client is negotiating quality of service with the content provider. To provide QoS guarantees, operating systems often use admission control, which is simply the practice of admitting a reqtiest for service only if the server has sufficient resources to satisfy the request.

We see admission control quite often in our everyday lives. For example, a movie theater only admits as many customers as it has seats in the theater. (There are also many situations in everyday life where admission control is not practiced but would be desirable!) If no admission control policy is used in a multimedia environment, the demands on the system might become so great that the system becomes unable to meet its QoS guarantees. In Chapter 6, we discussed using semaphores as a method of implementing a simple admission control policy.

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In this scenario, there exist a finite number of non-shareable resources. When a resource is requested, we will only grant the request if there are sufficient resources available; otherwise the requesting process is forced to wait until a resource becomes available. Semaphores may be used to implement an admission control policy by first initializing a semaphore to the number of resources available. Every request for a resource is made through a waitO operation on the semaphore; a resource is released with an invocation of signal 0 on the semaphore.

Once all resources are in use, subsequent calls to wait () block until there is a corresponding signal 0 . A common technique for implementing admission control is to use resource reservations. For example, resources on a file server may include the CPU, memory, file system, devices, and network (Figure 20.1). Note that resources may be either exclusive or shared and that there may be either single or multiple instances of each resource type. To use a resource, a client must make a reservation request for the resource in advance. If the request cannot be granted, the reservation is denied. An admission control scheme assigns a resource manager to each type of resource.

Requests for resources have associated QoS requirements—for example, required data rates. When a request for a resource arrives, the resource manager determines if the resource can meet the QoS demands of the request. If not, the request may be rejected, or a lower level of QoS may be negotiated between the client and the server. If the request is accepted, the resource manager reserves the resources for the requesting client, thus assuring the client the desired QoS requirements. In Section 20.7.2, we examine the admission control algorithm used to ensure QoS guarantees in the CineBlitz multimedia storage server.



Frequently Asked Questions

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Ans: Compression Because of the size and rate requirements of multimedia systems, multimedia files are often compressed from their original form to a much smaller form. Once a file has been compressed, it takes up less space for storage and can be delivered to a client more quickly. Compression is particularly important when the content is being streamed across a network connection. In discussing file compression, we often refer to the compression ratio, which is the ratio of the original file size to the size of the compressed file. For example, an 800-KB file that is compressed to 100 KB has a compression ratio of 8:1. view more..
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Ans: Networking Windows XP supports both peer-to-peer and client-server networking. It also has facilities for network management. The networking components in Windows XP provide data transport, interprocess communication, file sharing across a network, and the ability to send print jobs to remote printers. view more..
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Ans: The Security Problem In many applications, ensuring the security of the computer system is worth considerable effort. Large commercial systems containing payroll or other financial data are inviting targets to thieves. Systems that contain data pertaining to corporate operations may be of interest to unscrupulous competitors. Furthermore, loss of such data, whether by accident or fraud, can seriously impair the ability of the corporation to function. view more..
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Ans: Requirements of Multimedia Kernels As a result of the characteristics described in Section 20.1.2, multimedia applications often require levels of service from the operating system that differ from the requirements of traditional applications, such as word processors, compilers, and spreadsheets. Timing and rate requirements are perhaps the issues of foremost concern, as the playback of audio and video data demands that the data be delivered within a certain deadline and at a continuous, fixed rate. Traditional applications typically do not have such time and rate constraints. view more..
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Ans: What Is Multimedia? The term multimedia describes a wide range of applications that are in popular use today. These include audio and video files such as MP3 audio files, DVD movies, and short video clips of movie previews or news stories downloaded over the Internet. Multimedia applications also include live webcasts (broadcast over the World Wide Web) of speeches or sporting events and even live webcams that allow a viewer in Manhattan to observe customers at a cafe in Paris. Multimedia applications need not be either audio or video; rather, a multimedia application often includes a combination of both. For example, a movie may consist of separate audio and video tracks. Nor must multimedia applications be delivered only to desktop personal computers. Increasingly, they are being directed toward smaller devices, including personal digital assistants (PDAs) and cellular telephones. view more..
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Ans: CPU Scheduling We distinguished between soft real-time systems and hard real-time systems. Soft real-time systems simply give scheduling priority to critical processes. A soft real-time system ensures that a critical process will be given preference over a noncritical process but provides no guarantee as to when the critical process will be scheduled. A typical requirement of continuous media, however, is that data must be delivered to a client by a certain deadline; data that do not arrive by the deadline are unusable. Multimedia systems thus require hard real-time scheduling to ensure that a critical task will be serviced within a guaranteed period of time. Another scheduling issue concerns whether a scheduling algorithm uses static priority or dynamic priority—a distinction view more..
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Ans: Disk Scheduling we focused primarily on systems that handle conventional data; for these systems, the scheduling goals are fairness and throughput. As a result, most traditional disk schedulers employ some form of the SCAN (Section 12.4.3) or C-SCAN (Section 12.4.4) algorithm. Continuous-media files, however, have two constraints that conventional data files generally do not have: timing deadlines and rate requirements. These two constraints must be satisfied to preserve QoS guarantees, and diskscheduling algorithms must be optimized for the constraints. Unfortunately, these two constraints are often in conflict. Continuous-media files typically require very high disk-bandwidth rates to satisfy their data-rate requirements. Because disks have relatively low transfer rates and relatively high latency rates, disk schedulers must reduce the latency times to ensure high bandwidth. view more..
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Ans: Network Management Perhaps the foremost QoS issue with multimedia systems concerns preserving rate requirements. For example, if a client wishes to view a video compressed with MPEG-1, the quality of service greatly depends on the system's ability to deliver the frames at the required rate.. Our coverage of issues such as CPU- and disk-scheduling algorithms has focused on how these techniques can be used to better meet the quality-ofservice requirements of multimedia applications. However, if the media file is being streamed over a network—perhaps the Internet—issues relating to how the network delivers the multimedia data can also significantly affect how QoS demands are met. In this section, we explore several network issues related to the unique demands of continuous media. Before we proceed, it is worth noting that computer networks in general —and the Internet in particular— currently do not provide network protocols that can ensure the delivery of data with timing requirements. (There are some proprietary protocols—notably those running on Cisco routers—that do allow certain network traffic to be prioritized to meet QoS requirements. view more..
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Ans: CTSS The Compatible Time-Sharing System (CTSS) (Corbato et al. [1962]) was designed at MIT as an experimental time-sharing system. It was implemented on an IBM 7090 and eventually supported up to 32 interactive users. The users were provided with a set of interactive commands that allowed them to manipulate files and to compile and run programs through a terminal. view more..
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Ans: MULTICS The MULTICS operating system (Corbato and Vyssotsky [1965], Organick [1972]) was designed at MIT as a natural extension of CTSS. CTSS and other early time-sharing systems were so successful that they created an immediate desire to proceed quickly to bigger and better systems. As larger computers became available, the designers of CTSS set out to create a time-sharing utility. Computing service would be provided like electrical power. Large computer systems would be connected by telephone wires to terminals in offices and homes throughout a city. The operating system would be a time-shared system running continuously with a vast file system of shared programs and data. view more..
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Ans: IBM OS/360 The longest line of operating-system development is undoubtedly that of IBM computers. The early IBM computers, such as the IBM 7090 and the IBM 7094, are prime examples of the development of common I/O subroutines, followed by development of a resident monitor, privileged instructions, memory protection, and simple batch processing. These systems were developed separately, often by each site independently. As a result, IBM was faced with many different computers, with different languages and different system software. view more..
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Ans: Mach The Mach operating system traces its ancestry to the Accent operating system developed at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) (Rashid and Robertson [1981]). Mach's communication system and philosophy are derived from Accent, but many other significant portions of the system (for example, the virtual memory system, task and thread management) were developed from scratch (Rashid [1986], Tevanian et al. [1989], and Accetta et al. [1986]). The Mach scheduler was described in detail by Tevanian et al. [1987a] and Black [1990]. view more..
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Ans: History In the mid-1980s, Microsoft and IBM cooperated to develop the OS/2 operating system, which was written in assembly language for single-processor Intel 80286 systems. In 1988, Microsoft decided to make a fresh start and to develop a "new technology" (or NT) portable operating system that supported both the OS/2 and POSIX application-programming interfaces (APIs). view more..
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Ans: Access Matrix Our model of protection can be viewed abstractly as a matrix, called an access matrix. The rows of the access matrix represent domains, and the columns represent objects. Each entry in the matrix consists of a set of access rights. Because the column defines objects explicitly, we can omit the object name from the access right. The entry access(/,/) defines the set of operations that a process executing in domain Dj can invoke on object . view more..
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Ans: Election Algorithms Many distributed algorithms employ a coordinator process that performs functions needed by the other processes in the system. These functions include enforcing mutual exclusion, maintaining a global wait-for graph for deadlock detection, replacing a lost token, and controlling an input or output device in the system. If the coordinator process fails due to the failure of the site at which it resides, the system can continue only by restarting a new copy of the coordinator on some other site. The algorithms that determine where a new copy of the coordinator should be restarted are called election algorithms. Election algorithms assume that a unique priority number is associated with each active process in the system. For ease of notation, we assume that the priority number of process P, is /. To simplify our discussion, we assume a one-to-one correspondence between processes and sites and thus refer to both as processes. view more..
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Ans: Reaching Agreement For a system to be reliable, we need a mechanism that allows a set of processes to agree on a common value. Such an agreement may not take place, for several reasons. First, the communication medium may be faulty, resulting in lost or garbled messages. Second, the processes themselves may be faulty, resulting in unpredictable process behavior. The best we can hope for in this case is that processes fail in a clean way, stopping their execution without deviating from their normal execution pattern. In the worst case, processes may send garbled or incorrect messages to other processes or even collaborate with other failed processes in an attempt to destroy the integrity of the system. view more..
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Ans: Atomicity We introduced the concept of an atomic transaction, which is a program unit that must be executed atomically. That is, either all the operations associated with it are executed to completion, or none are performed. When we are dealing with a distributed system, ensuring the atomicity of a transaction becomes much more complicated than in a centralized system. This difficulty occurs because several sites may be participating in the execution of a single transaction. The failure of one of these sites, or the failure of a communication link connecting the sites, may result in erroneous computations. Ensuring that the execution of transactions in the distributed system preserves atomicity is the function of the transaction coordinator. Each site has its own local transaction coordinator, which is responsible for coordinating the execution of all the transactions initiated at that site. view more..
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Ans: Concurrency Control We move next to the issue of concurrency control. In this section, we show how certain of the concurrency-control schemes discussed in Chapter 6 can be modified for use in a distributed environment. The transaction manager of a distributed database system manages the execution of those transactions (or subtransactions) that access data stored in a local site. Each such transaction may be either a local transaction (that is, a transaction that executes only at that site) or part of a global transaction (that is, a transaction that executes at several sites). Each transaction manager is responsible for maintaining a log for recovery purposes and for participating in an appropriate concurrency-control scheme to coordinate the conciirrent execution of the transactions executing at that site. As we shall see, the concurrency schemes described in Chapter 6 need to be modified to accommodate the distribution of transactions. view more..




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