Reliable Group Data Delivery (RGDD) is a pervasive traffic pattern in data centers. In an RGDD group, a sender needs to reliably deliver a copy of data to all the receivers. Existing solutions either do not scale due to the large number of RGDD groups (e.g., IP multicast) or cannot efficiently use network bandwidth (e.g., end-host overlays). Motivated by the recent progresses on data center network topology designs (multiple edge-disjoint Steiner trees for RGDD) and innovations on network devices (practical in-network packet caching), we propose textit Datacast for RGDD. Datacast explores two design spaces: 1) Datacast uses multiple edge-disjoint Steiner trees for data delivery acceleration. 2) Datacast leverages in-network packet caching and introduces a simple soft-state based congestion control algorithm to address the scalability and efficiency issues of RGDD.
Our analysis reveals that Datacast congestion control works well with small cache sizes (e.g., 125KB) and causes few duplicate data transmissions (e.g., 1.19%). Both simulations and experiments confirm our theoretical analysis. We also use experiments to compare the performance of Datacast and BitTorrent. In a BCube(4, 1) with 1Gbps links, we use both Datacast and BitTorrent to transmit 4GB data. The link stress of Datacast is 1.01, while it is 1.39 for BitTorrent. By using two Steiner trees, Datacast finishes the transmission in 16.9s, while BitTorrent uses 53s.