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As parallel systems move into the production scientific computing
world, the emphasis will be on cost-effective solutions that provide
high throughput for a mix of applications. Cost-effective solutions
demand that a system make effective use of all of its resources. Many
MIMD multiprocessors today, however, distinguish between ``compute''
and ``I/O'' nodes, the latter having attached disks and being
dedicated to running the file-system server. This static division of
responsibilities simplifies system management but does not necessarily
lead to the best performance in workloads that need a different
balance of computation and I/O.
Of course, computational processes sharing a node with a file-system
service may receive less CPU time, network bandwidth, and memory
bandwidth than they would on a computation-only node. In this paper
we examine this issue experimentally. We found that high-performance
I/O does not necessarily require substantial CPU time, leaving plenty
of time for application computation. There were some complex
file-system requests, however, which left little CPU time available to
the application. (The impact on network and memory bandwidth still
needs to be determined.) For applications (or users) that cannot
tolerate an occasional interruption, we recommend that they continue
to use only compute nodes. For tolerant applications needing more
cycles than those provided by the compute nodes, we recommend that
they take full advantage of both compute and I/O nodes for
computation, and that operating systems should make this possible.
Revised version appeared in
IOPADS '95 at IPPS '95, pages 78-89.
Bibliographic citation for this report: [plain text] [BIB] [BibTeX] [Refer]
Or copy and paste:
David Kotz and Ting Cai, "Exploring the Use of I/O Nodes for Computation in a MIMD Multiprocessor." Dartmouth Computer Science Technical Report PCS-TR94-232, 1994.
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