[Beowulf] Lowered latency with multi-rail IB?

Nifty Tom Mitchell niftyompi at niftyegg.com
Thu Mar 26 22:20:18 PDT 2009

On Thu, Mar 26, 2009 at 09:03:30PM -0700, Greg Lindahl wrote:
> On Thu, Mar 26, 2009 at 11:32:23PM -0400, Dow Hurst DPHURST wrote:
> > We've got a couple of weeks max to finalize spec'ing a new cluster.  Has 
> > anyone knowledge of lowering latency for NAMD by implementing a 
> > multi-rail IB solution using MVAPICH or Intel's MPI?
> Multi-rail is likely to increase latency.
> BTW, Intel MPI usually has higher latency than other MPI
> implementations.
> If you look around for benchmarks you'll find that QLogic InfiniPath
> does quite well on NAMD and friends, compared to that other brand of
> InfiniBand adaptor. For example, at
> http://www.ks.uiuc.edu/Research/namd/performance.html
> the lowest line == best performance is InfiniPath. Those results
> aren't the most recent, but I'd bet that the current generation of
> adaptors has the same situation.

What this implies is that NAMD is not purely
bandwidth limited.   Rather it is limited by
other quickness issues.  For the most
part multi-rail is a bandwidth enhancement play...

With multi-rail do double check the system bus (PCI-e) 
bandwidth.   If multi-rail is used determine how the 
data is mux-ed between rails and what the impact of that
decision code path has on quickness and/or bandwidth.

If multi-rail is to go very fast MPI needs to 
manage each rail/LID in productive ways for the
application.  I doubt that this "productive way" has
a simple general one size fits all answer.

NAMD is clearly a "got to benchmark it" application!
Both the data link hardware and the MPI library integration with that
hardware are important...  

The last table on Greg's URI pointer -- NAMD version is also important!
It is possible that NAMD.next will move to be more bandwidth limited
than it is today and then the notion of best interconnect/ platform
will change.

> -- Greg
> (yeah, I used to work for QLogic.)
Me too.


	T o m  M i t c h e l l 
	Found me a new hat, now what?

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