RFS: Efficient and Flexible Remote File Access for MPI-IO

TitleRFS: Efficient and Flexible Remote File Access for MPI-IO
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsLee, J, Ma, X, Ross, RB, Thakur, R, Winslett, M
Date Published06/2004
Other NumbersANl/MCS-P1176-0604

Scientific applications often need to access remote file systems. Because of slow networks and large data size, however, remote I/O can become an even more serious performance bottleneck than local I/O performance. In
this work, we present RFS, a high-performance remote I/O facility for ROMIO, which is a well-known MPI-IO implementation. Our simple, portable, and flexible design eliminates the shortcomings of previous remote I/O efforts. In particular, RFS improves the remote I/O performance by adopting active buffering with threads (ABT), which hides I/O cost by aggressively buffering the output data using available memory and performing background I/O using threads while computation is taking place. Our experimental results show that RFS with ABT can significantly reduce the remote I/O visible cost, achieving up to 92% of the theoretical peak throughput. The computation slowdown caused by concurrent I/O activities was 0.2-6.2%, which is dwarfed by the overall performance improvement in application turnaround time.