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Hybrid EDF Packet Scheduling for Real-Time Distributed Systems

When multiple computational resource elements collaborate to handle events in a cyber-physical system, scheduling algorithms on these resource elements and the communication delay between them contribute to the overall system utilization and schedulability. Employing earliest deadline first (EDF) scheduling in real-time cyber-physical systems has many challenges. First, the network layer of a resource has to interrupt and notify the scheduler about the deadlines of arrived messages. The randomness of interruption makes context switch costs unpredictable. Second, lack of globally synchronized clocks across resources renders event deadlines derived from local clocks and piggybacked in messages meaningless. Third, communication delay variances in a network increase the unpredictability of the system, e.g., When multiple resources transmit message bursts simultaneously.

We address these challenges in this work. First, we combine EDF scheduling with periodic message transmission tasks. Then, we implement an EDF-based packet scheduler, which transmits packets considering event deadlines. Third, we employ bandwidth limitations on the transmission links of resources to decrease network contention and network delay variance. We have implemented our hybrid EDF scheduler in a real-time distributed storage system. We evaluate it on a cluster of nodes in a switched network environment resembling a distributed cyber-physical system to demonstrate the real-time capability of our scheduler.