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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Toward Transparent Data Management in Multi-Layer Storage Hierarchy of HPC Systems


Upcoming exascale high performance computing (HPC) systems are expected to comprise multi-tier storage hierarchy, and thus will necessitate innovative storage and I/O mechanisms. Traditional disk and block-based interfaces and file systems face severe challenges in utilizing capabilities of storage hierarchies due to the lack of hierarchy support and semantic interfaces. Object-based and semantically-rich data abstractions for scientific data management on large scale systems offer a sustainable solution to these challenges. Such data abstractions can also simplify users involvement in data movement. In this paper, we take the first steps of realizing such an object abstraction and explore storage mechanisms for these objects to enhance I/O performance, especially for scientific applications. We explore how an object-based interface can facilitate next generation scalable computing systems by presenting the mapping of data I/O from two real world HPC scientific use cases: a plasma physics simulation code (VPIC) and a cosmology simulation code (HACC). Our storage model stores data objects in different physical organizations to support data movement across layers of memory/storage hierarchy. Our implementation sclaes well to 16K parallel processes, and compared to the state of the art, such as MPI-IO and HDF5, our object-based data abstractions and data placement strategy in multi-level storage hierarchy achieves up to 7× I/O performance improvement for scientific data.

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