[Beowulf] Can one Infiniband net support MPI and a parallel filesystem?

Joe Landman landman at scalableinformatics.com
Wed Aug 13 04:27:11 PDT 2008

Craig Tierney wrote:
> Chris Samuel wrote:
>> ----- "I Kozin (Igor)" <i.kozin at dl.ac.uk> wrote:
>>>> Generally speaking, MPI programs will not be fetching/writing data
>>>> from/to storage at the same time they are doing MPI calls so there
>>>> tends to not be very much contention to worry about at the node
>>>> level.
>>> I tend to agree with this. 
>> But that assumes you're not sharing a node with other
>> jobs that may well be doing I/O.
>> cheers,
>> Chris
> I am wondering, who shares nodes in cluster systems with
> MPI codes?  We never have shared nodes for codes that need

The vast majority of our customers/users do.  Limited resources, they 
have to balance performance against cost and opportunity cost.

Sadly not every user has an infinite budget to invest in contention free 
hardware (nodes, fabrics, or disks).  So they have to maximize the 
utilization of what they have, while (hopefully) not trashing the 
efficiency too badly.

> multiple cores since be built our first SMP cluster
> in 2001.  The contention for shared resources (like memory
> bandwidth and disk IO) would lead to unpredictable code performance.

Yes it does.  As does OS jitter and other issues.

> Also, a poorly behaved program can cause the other codes on
> that node to crash (which we don't want).

Yes this happens as well, but some users simply have no choice.

> Even at TACC (62000+ cores) with 16 cores per node, nodes
> are dedicated to jobs.

I think every user would love to run on a TACC like system.  I think 
most users have a budget for something less than 1/100th the size.   Its 
easy to forget how much resource (un)availability constrains actions 
when you have very large resources to work with.


Joseph Landman, Ph.D
Founder and CEO
Scalable Informatics LLC,
email: landman at scalableinformatics.com
web  : http://www.scalableinformatics.com
phone: +1 734 786 8423
fax  : +1 866 888 3112
cell : +1 734 612 4615

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