Understanding the I/O Performance Gap Between Cori KNL and Haswell
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Understanding the I/O Performance Gap Between Cori KNL and Haswell

  • Author(s): Liu, J
  • Koziol
  • Tang, H
  • Tessier, F
  • Bhimji
  • Cook, B
  • Byna, S
  • Austin, B
  • Thakur, B
  • lockwood
  • Deslippe
  • prabhat
  • et al.

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The Cori system at NERSC has two compute partitions with different CPU architectures: a 2,004 node Haswell partition and a 9,688 node KNL partition, which ranked as the 5th most powerful and fastest supercomputer on the November 2016 Top 500 list. The compute partitions share a common storage configuration, and understanding the IO performance gap between them is important, impacting not only to NERSC/LBNL users and other national labs, but also to the relevant hardware vendors and software developers. In this paper, we have analyzed performance of single core and single node IO comprehensively on the Haswell and KNL partitions, and have discovered the major bottlenecks, which include CPU frequencies and memory copy performance. We have also extended our performance tests to multi-node IO and revealed the IO cost difference caused by network latency, buffer size, and communication cost. Overall, we have developed a strong understanding of the IO gap between Haswell and KNL nodes and the lessons learned from this exploration will guide us in designing optimal IO solutions in many-core era.

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