Google Research

Swift: Delay is Simple and Effective for Congestion Control in the Datacenter

SIGCOMM 2020 (2020)


We report on experiences deploying Swift congestion control in Google datacenters. Swift relies on hardware timestamps in modern NICs, and is based on AIMD control with a specified end-to-end delay target. This simple design is an evolution of earlier protocols used at Google. It has emerged as a foundation for excellent performance, when network distances are well-known, that helps to meet operational challenges. Delay is easy to decompose into fabric and host components to separate concerns, and effortless to deploy and maintain as a signal from switches in changing datacenter environments. With Swift, we obtain low flow completion times for short RPCs, even at the 99th-percentile, while providing high throughput for long RPCs. At datacenter scale, Swift achieves 50$\mu$s tail latencies for short RPCs while sustaining a 100Gbps throughput per-server, a load close to 100\%. This is much better than protocols such as DCTCP that degrade latency and loss at high utilization.

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