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Resource Policy
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Murphy resource policy manager

What is Murphy?

Murphy is a centralized resource policy daemon. Murphy assigns system resources to applications in an event-based and centralized way, meaning that resources are given to applications that request them in a priority order.

Murphy works with many different resource domains and is intended to handle cross-domain resource conflicts. An example of this might be an interdependency between power management resources, audio resources, and video resources. If an application requires an instance of all the three resource types to work properly, taking a single one away from it should result in the release of the entire set of resources, since the application anyway requires the whole set to work properly.

Murphy is designed to be extensively scripted and extended. The logic behind the decisions is encoded in the scipts in form of policy rules. These rules will be provided by the system intergrator. The extensions are implemented as Murphy plugins or external domain controllers.

How does Murphy work?

Murphy listens to three input event types:

  1. System events
  2. Application requests
  3. User-provided settings

An input event (such as an application requesting permission to play audio) may change a value in Murphy internal database. This in turn triggers the decision making mechanism. The decision is made and communicated to domain controllers, which enforce the resource limits for different resource domains, and to the applications competing for the resources. Resource-aware applications are expected to comply with the decision, but for some domains the decisions can also be enforced. For the audio domain it might mean stopping or muting the stream that was not allowed to play.

Why is Murphy needed?

The main idea is to move policy responsibilities away from the applications. Automatic arbitration of the available resources is important especially in embedded systems with limited user interaction capabilities.

The applications need to decide by themselves who can access the limited resources if there is no centralized resource manager. In order to do this, all applications have to:

  • understand the resource limits in the system (both software and hardware)
  • follow other applications' access to the resources
  • define application priorities for resource access; who can access the resource is there is a conflict?
  • handle exceptional cases, such as non-resource aware applications accessing the limited resources

It is clear that it is extremely difficult for the applications to cooperate in this way, and implementing and maintaining this support for every single application running on a system is a huge undertaking. Changing a policy would require changes to all applications. But if the applications offload the resource policing responsibilities to a central resource manager, the applications only need to use a well-defined resource API to request access to resources and follow the resource status. In order to do a policy change, the system integrator only needs to change the policy in resource manager configuration, and the desired behavior should automatically follow.

Compilation of Murphy

Detailed information on building Murphy, the dependencies and options can be found at the documentation.

In general, Murphy is an Autotools-based project, so users who have used Autotools before should be relatively "at home" with the process of generating the configure script as well as configuring and compiling Murphy.

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