Backfilling describes the process when an employee or worker is transferred from one area to another to take over someone else’s tasks. Backfilling occurs in many different areas and industries, including information technology. Backfilling describes a method that is used for maximum utilization of server clusters. For example, backfilling can be used to perform smaller operations in the background, as long as the tasks taking place in the foreground are not affected.

General information[edit]

Backfilling can also be described as resource management. This method is used if not all resources that are available for processing a server task in the foreground are required. In these cases, backfilling allows smaller jobs to be executed in the background that are not required for the priority task. Backfilling sets a sequence according to capacities and priorities, so all tasks are processed simultaneously. It also takes into account which jobs require how many resources. The job for which the resources are available is carried out first, so that the available capacities and resources can be used optimally.

How Backfilling works[edit]

Depending on the scope and size, up to 100 jobs can be completed simultaneously with the help of backfilling on a server. A scheduler is used to determine all the maximum resources available for the programs running in the foreground. Once this is done, the remaining capacities are used by backfilling to create further tasks. In the course of this process, you can also determine the number of jobs that are to be executed simultaneously. To ensure optimum utilization of the server's capacity, the scheduler records tasks that can be performed with the existing resources. Unwanted gaps that would otherwise arise are filled in this way, so the server can be used according to its total capacity.

Backfilling and schedulers[edit]

Schedulers play an important role in backfilling. However, algorithms such as backfilling or FairShare are not implemented in all schedulers, but they can be implemented retrospectively with varying amounts of effort.

Significance for development[edit]

The importance of backfilling can be divided into the areas of non IT companies and IT service providers. For companies outside the IT sector, IT - at least as a large department - has increasingly receded into the background in recent years. Short innovation times and rapid development of new products and services leave less room for time-consuming IT work. Non-IT companies must also focus on their core competencies, which means that IT takes up a relatively small amount of space. Nevertheless, hardly any company outside of IT can afford to do without the support and work of IT experts altogether.

For IT service providers, this means adapting to the needs and resources of companies and offering services that bring profits or advantages to non IT companies with manageable effort. IT experts are therefore advised to offer sophisticated projects such as backfilling or application managed services.