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Cluster Computing and the Grid, IEEE International Symposium on (2008)
May 19, 2008 to May 22, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-7695-3156-4
pp: 154-161
Virtualization using Xen-based virtual machine environment has yet to permeate the field of high performance computing (HPC). One major requirement for HPC is the availability of scalable and high performance I/O. Conventional wisdom suggests that virtualization of system services must lead to degraded performance. In this presentation, we take on a parallel I/O perspective to study the viability of Xen-based HPC for data-intensive programs. We have analyzed the overheads and migration costs for parallel I/O programs in a Xen-based virtual machine cluster. Our analysis covers PVFS-based parallel I/O over two different networking protocols: TCP-based Gigabit Ethernet and VMM-bypass InfiniBand. Our experimental results suggest that network processing in Xen-based virtualization can significantly impact the performance of Parallel I/O. By carefully tuning the networking layers, we have demonstrated the following for Xen-based HPC I/O: (1) TCP offloading can help achieve low overhead parallel I/O; (2) parallel reads and writes require different network tuning to achieve good I/O bandwidth; and (3) Xen-based HPC environment can support high performance parallel I/O with both negligible overhead and little migration cost.

J. S. Vetter and W. Yu, "Xen-Based HPC: A Parallel I/O Perspective," 2008 8th International Symposium on Cluster Computing and the Grid (CCGRID '08)(CCGRID), Lyon, 2008, pp. 154-161.
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