S. J. Kim, Y. Zhang, S. W. Son, R. Prabhakar, M. Kandemir, C. Patrick, W.-K. Liao, and A. Choudhary, "Automated Tracing of I/O Stack," Preprint ANL/MCS-P1853-0910, September 2010. [pdf]
Efficient execution of parallel scientific applications requires high-performance storage systems designed to meet their I/O requirements. Most high-performance I/O intensive applications access multiple layers of the storage stack during their disk operations. A typical I/O request from these applications may include accesses to high-level libraries such as MPI I/O, executing on clustered parallel file systems like PVFS2, which are in turn supported by native file systems like Linux. In order to design and implement parallel applications that exercise this I/O stack, it is important to understand the flow of I/O calls through the entire storage system. Such understanding helps in identifying the potential performance and power bottlenecks in different layers of the storage hierarchy. To trace the execution of the I/O calls and to understand the complex interactions of multiple user-libraries and file systems, we propose an automatic code instrumentation technique, which enables us to collect detailed statistics of the I/O stack. Our proposed I/O tracing tool traces the flow of I/O calls across different layers of an I/O stack, and can be configured to work with different file systems and user-libraries. It also analyzes the collected information to generate output in terms of different user-specified metrics of interest.