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November 19, 2009
IT professionals are constantly being challenged to manage exponential growth that has reached petabyte levels. With more and more data taxing the system, performance sacrifices are always a consideration. And for applications that demand high performance and scale, the stakes are even higher because any I/O bottlenecks in the system can essentially bring a project to its knees.
So it's no surprise that removing I/O bottlenecks can have a direct impact on the profitability of a business. By removing I/O bottlenecks, potential benefits include faster time to results, the deployment of more powerful analytical algorithms and filters, and the management of higher-resolution datasets. As pressures increase on IT to deliver even-higher levels of productivity and efficiency, a new generation file system standard will be required to maximize utilization of powerful server and cluster resources while minimizing management overhead.
Challenges of Networked Storage Systems
The question is, "How soon will we eliminate performance bottlenecks, non-scalable file systems, complex client management, vendor lock in and fork lift upgrades?" Most customers have independent networked storage systems that are not capable of achieving the ideal performance, capacity and client management utilization efficiencies. Storage administrators are constantly looking for ways to address these challenges by reducing management costs and increasing performance to lower total cost of ownership for networked storage purchases. Bottom line, organizations need to reduce operational costs, increase productivity or solve a unique problem for a competitive advantage.
Network File System (NFS) answers many of these challenges. NFS is a communication protocol to make data stored on file servers available to any computer on a network. NFS clients are included in all common operating systems and allow servers to communicate with the file system in the storage network. NFS also ensures interoperability between vendor solutions, allows users to have a choice of best-of-breed products in their storage networks, and eliminates risks associated with proprietary technology. NFS v4.1 protocol (approved December 2008) has resulted in many storage management enhancements. These include global name space, a feature that can help storage administrators configure different hardware components to look like a single system as well as head and storage scaling. In addition, storage administrators can now perform non-disruptive upgrades without impacting performance. Combined, these features reduce storage operating costs, improve storage network performance, and consolidate systems to reduce management hours.
Parallel NFS (pNFS) Kicks NAS Performance Up a Notch
pNFS kicks NAS performance up an order of magnitude by allowing users to access storage devices directly and in parallel by leveraging the combination of Parallel I/O and NFS. Files can be broken up and striped across NAS heads and, leveraging multiple data paths and processors, delivered in parallel to the requestor to provide a significant performance boost. pNFS also introduces the ability to bypass NAS heads for file delivery altogether. It supports block, file and object-based data files. Parallel I/O delivers higher levels of application performance and allows for massive scalability without diminished performance. Single sequential I/O patterns have many bottlenecks that adversely affect performance, including no load balancing and the inability to aggregate other devices. pNFS solves these issues by providing global name space functionality without requiring forklift upgrades while allowing storage administrators to scale performance and storage capacity without disruption. It also eliminates vendor lock-in, providing added flexibility for future upgrades. As a result, customers can further impact their bottom line by lowering their total cost of ownership and maximizing consolidation of storage.
The estimated Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) ratification for pNFS completion is the end of 2009. pNFS for a standard Linux distribution is expected to be available in mid 2010. Storage customers ultimately have the power to accelerate adoption of new standards if and when they see the value. The first step is to learn more about pNFS and understand its value. Get involved -- ask your application vendors and infrastructure providers what their plans are for supporting pNFS. The SNIA NFS Special Interest Group is the recommended source for community endorsed pNFS eduction content and events.
May 23, 2013 |
The study of climate change is one of those scientific problems where it is almost essential to model the entire Earth to attain accurate results and make worthwhile predictions. In an attempt to make climate science more accessible to smaller research facilities, NASA introduced what they call ‘Climate in a Box,’ a system they note acts as a desktop supercomputer.
May 22, 2013 |
At some point in the not-too-distant future, building powerful, miniature computing systems will be considered a hobby for high schoolers, just as robotics or even Lego-building are today. That could be made possible through recent advancements made with the Raspberry Pi computers.
May 16, 2013 |
When it comes to cloud, long distances mean unacceptably high latencies. Researchers from the University of Bonn in Germany examined those latency issues of doing CFD modeling in the cloud by utilizing a common CFD and its utilization in HPC instance types including both CPU and GPU cores of Amazon EC2.
May 15, 2013 |
Supercomputers at the Department of Energy’s National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) have worked on important computational problems such as collapse of the atomic state, the optimization of chemical catalysts, and now modeling popping bubbles.
05/10/2013 | Cleversafe, Cray, DDN, NetApp, & Panasas | From Wall Street to Hollywood, drug discovery to homeland security, companies and organizations of all sizes and stripes are coming face to face with the challenges – and opportunities – afforded by Big Data. Before anyone can utilize these extraordinary data repositories, however, they must first harness and manage their data stores, and do so utilizing technologies that underscore affordability, security, and scalability.
04/15/2013 | Bull | “50% of HPC users say their largest jobs scale to 120 cores or less.” How about yours? Are your codes ready to take advantage of today’s and tomorrow’s ultra-parallel HPC systems? Download this White Paper by Analysts Intersect360 Research to see what Bull and Intel’s Center for Excellence in Parallel Programming can do for your codes.
In this demonstration of SGI DMF ZeroWatt disk solution, Dr. Eng Lim Goh, SGI CTO, discusses a function of SGI DMF software to reduce costs and power consumption in an exascale (Big Data) storage datacenter.
The Cray CS300-AC cluster supercomputer offers energy efficient, air-cooled design based on modular, industry-standard platforms featuring the latest processor and network technologies and a wide range of datacenter cooling requirements.