Publications / SAND Report

Using simulation to evaluate the performance of resilience strategies and process failures

Levy, Scott L.; Ferreira, Kurt; Widener, Patrick W.

Fault-tolerance has been identified as a major challenge for future extreme-scale systems. Current predictions suggest that, as systems grow in size, failures will occur more frequently. Because increases in failure frequency reduce the performance and scalability of these systems, significant effort has been devoted to developing and refining resilience mechanisms to mitigate the impact of failures. However, effective evaluation of these mechanisms has been challenging. Current systems are smaller and have significantly different architectural features (e.g., interconnect, persistent storage) than we expect to see in next-generation systems. To overcome these challenges, we propose the use of simulation. Simulation has been shown to be an effective tool for investigating performance characteristics of applications on future systems. In this work, we: identify the set of system characteristics that are necessary for accurate performance prediction of resilience mechanisms for HPC systems and applications; demonstrate how these system characteristics can be incorporated into an existing large-scale simulator; and evaluate the predictive performance of our modified simulator. We also describe how we were able to optimize the simulator for large temporal and spatial scales-allowing the simulator to run 4x faster and use over 100x less memory.