Fence: Protecting device availabilitywith uniform resource control

Tao Li, Albert Rafetseder, Rodrigo Fonseca, Justin Cappos

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


    Applications such as software updaters or a run-away web app, even if low priority, can cause performance degradation, loss of battery life, or other issues that reduce a computing device's availability. The core problem is that OS resource control mechanisms unevenly apply uncoordinated policies across different resources. This paper shows how handling resources-e.g., CPU, memory, sockets, and bandwidth-in coordination, through a unifying abstraction, can be both simpler and more effective. We abstract resources along two dimensions of fungibility and renewability, to enable resource-agnostic algorithms to provide resource limits for a diverse set of applications. We demonstrate the power of our resource abstraction with a prototype resource control subsystem, Fence, which we implement for two sandbox environments running on a wide variety of operating systems (Windows, Linux, the BSDs, Mac OS X, iOS, Android, OLPC, and Nokia) and device types (servers, desktops, tablets, laptops, and smartphones). We use Fence to provide systemwide protection against resource hogging processes that include limiting battery drain, preventing overheating, and isolating performance. Even when there is interference, Fence can double the battery life and improve the responsiveness of other applications by an order of magnitude. Fence is publicly available and has been deployed in practice for five years, protecting tens of thousands of users.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2015 USENIX Annual Technical Conference, USENIX ATC 2015
    PublisherUSENIX Association
    Number of pages15
    ISBN (Electronic)9781931971225
    StatePublished - 2015
    Event2015 USENIX Annual Technical Conference, USENIX ATC 2015 - Santa Clara, United States
    Duration: Jul 8 2015Jul 10 2015

    Publication series

    NameProceedings of the 2015 USENIX Annual Technical Conference, USENIX ATC 2015


    Conference2015 USENIX Annual Technical Conference, USENIX ATC 2015
    Country/TerritoryUnited States
    CitySanta Clara

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Computer Science


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