Improving Docker Registry Design Based on Production Workload Analysis

Abstract

Containers offer an efficient way to run workloads as independent microservices that can be developed, tested and deployed in an agile manner. To facilitate this process, container frameworks offer a registry service that enables users to publish and version container images and share them with others. The registry service plays a critical role in the startup time of containers since many container starts entail the retrieval of container images from a registry. To support research efforts on optimizing the registry service, large-scale and realistic traces are required. In this paper, we perform a comprehensive characterization of a large-scale registry workload based on traces that we collected over the course of 75 days from five IBM data centers hosting production-level registries. We present a trace replayer to perform our analysis and infer a number of crucial insights about container workloads, such as request type distribution, access patterns, and response times. Based on these insights, we derive design implications for the registry and demonstrate their ability to improve performance. Both the traces and the replayer are open-sourced to facilitate further research.

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