Argonne National Laboratory

Scalable I/O Forwarding Framework for High-Performance Computing Systems

TitleScalable I/O Forwarding Framework for High-Performance Computing Systems
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsAli, N, Carns, PH, Iskra, K, Kimpe, D, Lang, S, Latham, R, Ross, RB, Ward, L, Sadayappan, P
Conference NameName: Proceedings of the 2009 IEEE International Conference on Cluster Computing
Date Published08/2009
Conference LocationNew Orleans, LA, USA
Other NumbersANL/MCS-P1594-0309

Current leadership-class machines suffer from a significant imbalance between their computational power and their I/O bandwidth. While Moore\'s law ensures that the computational power of high-performance computing systems increases with every generation, the same is not true for their I/O subsystems. The scalability challenges faced by existing parallel file systems with respect to the increasing number of clients, coupled with the minimalistic compute node kernels running on these machines, call for a new I/O paradigm to meet the requirements of data-intensive scientific applications. I/O forwarding is a technique that attempts to bridge the increasing
performance and scalability gap between the compute and I/O components of leadership-class machines by shipping I/O calls from compute nodes to dedicated I/O nodes. The I/O nodes perform operations on behalf of the compute nodes and can reduce file system traffic by aggregating, rescheduling, and caching I/O requests. This paper presents an open, scalable I/O forwarding framework for high-performance computing systems. We describe an I/O protocol and API for shipping function calls from compute nodes to I/O nodes, and we present a quantitative analysis of the overhead associated with I/O