[Beowulf] GPFS on Linux (x86)

Toon Knapen toon.knapen at fft.be
Thu Sep 14 01:05:49 PDT 2006

We have tested GPFS and got some interesting results.

First some background data: we performed our tests at IBM's european HPC 
center. In collaboration with IBM, we tried to find the 'ideal' (in 
terms of minimizing wallclock-time) cluster-configuration to run our 
acoustics simulation software. Due to the size of the models we treat, 
we generally use a direct parallel out-of-core solver. Since it is an 
out-of-core solver, disk IO is pretty intensive.

So using our out-of-core solver, we tested our app. using local scratch 
disks and compared that to using a GPFS. The main advantage in the end 
to me is the flexibility of the system. If some node needs more 
scratch-space, this can be easily configured. Also the scalability was 
very good. Using 4-core nodes, we also tested the scalability by having 
2 or 4 processes using the GPFS simultaneously. The effect of having 
multiple processes performing IO simultaneously did however not have a 
big effect on the individual bandwidth.


Brent Franks wrote:
> Hello,
> We have been researching GPFS from IBM and are very interested in what
> looks like promising performance and scalability.
> Does anyone use GPFS, we are looking at running it in a distributed
> mode, rather than using one central SAN.
> Additionally, the sales information seems to be rather elusive.  We
> have contacted IBM, however the channels we contact have all been
> somewhat dissapointing as we have had to educate the sales people on
> what the product is.
> We are very interested in setting up a trial of the software and then
> purchasing if it meets our needs.  Does anyone have a contact at IBM
> or solutions provider who is familiar with GPFS and could send out an
> eval kit?  30 or 60 day time bomb would be fine, we just need to
> justify to management that it will indeed work for our application.
> Any help would be greatly appreciated.
> Thanks and kindest regards,
> - Brent
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Toon Knapen

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and register on-line at http://www.fft.be/?id=35

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