Publications / Other Report

SPARC: Demonstrate burst-buffer-based checkpoint/restart on ATS-1

Oldfield, Ron A.; Ulmer, Craig D.; Widener, Patrick W.; Ward, Harry L.

Recent high-performance computing (HPC) platforms such as the Trinity Advanced Technology System (ATS-1) feature burst buffer resources that can have a dramatic impact on an application’s I/O performance. While these non-volatile memory (NVM) resources provide a new tier in the storage hierarchy, developers must find the right way to incorporate the technology into their applications in order to reap the benefits. Similar to other laboratories, Sandia is actively investigating ways in which these resources can be incorporated into our existing libraries and workflows without burdening our application developers with excessive, platform-specific details. This FY18Q1 milestone summaries our progress in adapting the Sandia Parallel Aerodynamics and Reentry Code (SPARC) in Sandia’s ATDM program to leverage Trinity’s burst buffers for checkpoint/restart operations. We investigated four different approaches with varying tradeoffs in this work: (1) simply updating job script to use stage-in/stage out burst buffer directives, (2) modifying SPARC to use LANL’s hierarchical I/O (HIO) library to store/retrieve checkpoints, (3) updating Sandia’s IOSS library to incorporate the burst buffer in all meshing I/O operations, and (4) modifying SPARC to use our Kelpie distributed memory library to store/retrieve checkpoints. Team members were successful in generating initial implementation for all four approaches, but were unable to obtain performance numbers in time for this report (reasons: initial problem sizes were not large enough to stress I/O, and SPARC refactor will require changes to our code). When we presented our work to the SPARC team, they expressed the most interest in the second and third approaches. The HIO work was favored because it is lightweight, unobtrusive, and should be portable to ATS-2. The IOSS work is seen as a long-term solution, and is favored because all I/O work (including checkpoints) can be deferred to a single library.