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Managing data centers is a challenging endeavor. State-of-the-art management systems often rely on analytical modeling to assess the performance, availability, and/or energy implications of potential management decisions or system configurations. This paper argues that actual experiments are cheaper, simpler, and more accurate than models for many management tasks. To support this claim, an infrastructure is built for experiment based management of virtualized data centers, called JustRunIt. The infrastructure creates a sandboxed environment in which experiments can be run-on a very small number of machines - using real workloads and real system state, but without affecting the on-line system.
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