sponsored byIEEEACMThe International Conference for High Performance 
Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis
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SCHEDULE: NOV 16-21, 2014

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A User-Friendly Approach for Tuning Parallel File Operations

SESSION: Best Practices in File Systems


TIME: 2:00PM - 2:30PM


AUTHOR(S):Robert McLay, Doug James, Si Liu, John Cazes, William Barth



The Lustre file system provides high aggregated I/O bandwidth and is in widespread use throughout the HPC community. Here we report on work (1) developing a model for understanding collective parallel MPI write operations on Lustre, and (2) producing a library that optimizes parallel write performance in a user-friendly way. We note that a system's default stripe count is rarely a good choice for parallel I/O, and that performance depends on a delicate balance between the number of stripes and the actual (not requested) number of collective writers. Unfortunate combinations of these parameters may degrade performance considerably. For the programmer, however, it's all about the stripe count: an informed choice of this single parameter allows MPI to assign writers in a way that achieves near-optimal performance. We offer recommendations for those who wish to tune performance manually and describe the easy-to-use T3PIO library that manages the tuning automatically.

Chair/Author Details:

Mark Gary (Chair) - Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Robert McLay - University of Texas at Austin

Doug James - University of Texas at Austin

Si Liu - University of Texas at Austin

John Cazes - University of Texas at Austin

William Barth - Texas Advanced Computing Center

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Paper provided by the ACM Digital Library

Paper also available from IEEE Computer Society