Experimental Validation of the Suitability of Virtualization-Based Replication for Fault Tolerance in Real-Time Control of Electric Grids

Real-time control systems (RTCSs) perform complex control and require low response times. They typically use third-party software libraries and are deployed on generic hardware, which suffer from delay faults that can cause serious damage. To improve availability and latency, the controllers in RTCSs are replicated on physical nodes. As physical replication is expensive, we study the alternative of exploiting virtualization technology to run multiple virtual replicas on the same physical node. As virtual replicas share the same resources, the delay faults they experience might be correlated, which would make such a replication method unsuitable. We conduct several experiments with an RTCS for electric grids, with multiple virtual replicas of its controller. We find that although the delay of a virtual machine is higher than of a physical machine, the correlation between high delays among the virtual replicas is insignificant, causing an overall improved availability.We conclude that virtual replication is indeed applicable to certain RTCSs, as it can improve reliability without added cost.

Presented at:
ACM / IEEE International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement (ESEM) (ESEM ’18), Oulu, Finland, October 11-12, 2018

 Record created 2018-08-16, last modified 2019-03-17

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