Running broker in Trial/Qualifying/Competition

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moe
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Running broker in Trial/Qualifying/Competition

moe
Hi everyone,

I'd like to hear your experiences or best practices for running the broker not on the locahlhost. After initial testing our broker in the currently running trial, we figured that we were not able to run our broker from the private notebook as the internet connection was interrupted due to commuting.

Did you run the broker in the cloud, if so, which host etc.?


Thanks
moe
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Re: Running broker in Trial/Qualifying/Competition

grampajohn
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Hello, Moe -
moe wrote
I'd like to hear your experiences or best practices for running the broker not on the locahlhost. After initial testing our broker in the currently running trial, we figured that we were not able to run our broker from the private notebook as the internet connection was interrupted due to commuting.
If you are at a university, you may be able to talk someone into giving you access to a machine on campus. That's what we do at Minnesota - if students need to run something like a broker that needs to run 24/7, they are given credentials for a VM in the machine room. Works great.

Unfortunately, the tournament organizers don't have the resources or authority to provide such services directly to participants. I wish we did, but it would involve significant effort and we don't have the resources. Perhaps someone in the community has experience with cloud resources. My limited experience suggests that you might be OK with a broker, because it can be awakened by incoming messages, but that running a server that must be activated by the clock rather than by net traffic takes specific setup parameters that are not common in virtual machines.

Cheers -

John
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Re: Running broker in Trial/Qualifying/Competition

easwar1977
In reply to this post by moe
Hi Moe,

  We faced the same problem. During the first trial, we ran broker from laptops and we ran into problems of connectivity. The connectivity was due to failure of Internet Service Provider (ISP) or power outage (this being our summer season, power outages are not uncommon).  To fix this issue, we thought we should run the broker from our work location; since, there we are assured of uninterrupted power and connectivity. But the problem was that we were behind a proxy at our workplace. We sought help from the Powertac team to be able to run the broker from behind the proxy. They provided excellent help but as luck would have it we were not able to communicate to a remote server. We were only able to access server via localhost which in turn would connect to outside for weather report which worked perfectly. But for the trials and tournament we needed to connect to remote server from behind the proxy which we were unable to do. May be we will take this up after the 2017 competition is over.

 For second trial, we relied on AWS. We deployed our broker on decent configuration instance and connect to the remote server as required by the powertac team. And we had no problem. As far as I know, we didn't face any time outs. If AWS is expensive, there are other cheaper options out there.

 Going forward, at least for the 2017 edition of powertac, we will be using AWS for run our broker.

Best Regards,
Easwar