Conference paper

Rebasing I/O for Scientific Computing: Leveraging Storage Class Memory in an IBM BlueGene/Q Supercomputer

Storage class memory is receiving increasing attention for use in HPC systems for the acceleration of intensive IO operations. We report a particular instance using SLC FLASH memory integrated with an IBM BlueGene/Q supercomputer at scale (Blue Gene Active Storage, BGAS). We describe two principle modes of operation of the non-volatile memory: 1) block device; 2) direct storage access (DSA). The block device layer, built on the DSA layer, provides compatibility with IO layers common to existing HPC IO systems (POSIX, MPIO, HDF5) and is expected to provide high performance in bandwidth critical use cases. The novel DSA strategy enables a low-overhead, byte addressable, asynchronous, kernel by-pass access method for very high user space IOPs in multithreaded application environments. Here, we expose DSA through HDF5 using a custom file driver. Benchmark results for the different modes are presented and scale-out to full system size showcases the capabilities of this technology


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