Parallel File Systems? RRS feed

  • Question

  • I know about the Panasas commitment to a Windows port but I would like to know if MS has any plans to create a parallel file system itself?


    To the community at large, are you successfully using a parallel file system with Windows HPC and if so which one? Is your PFS a software product or do you have to buy the vendors hardware as well?


    This is a big issue for us.



    Tuesday, June 3, 2008 9:23 AM


  • Hi Jayne,


    I have seen SFS getting data rates in the 25-50 GB/s range on "fat" LINUX compute nodes. I can imagine the same can be done with Windows.




    Friday, June 6, 2008 10:01 PM

All replies


    Wednesday, June 4, 2008 11:09 PM
  • Let's try that again.


    Panasas has said they will support a Windows client. IBM has said they will support a Windows GPFS client but have not announced availability. SUN has said that a Lustre client will be available in Lustre 2.0 projected to be the end of the year. I believe for all 3 that the "server" or "storage target" will be (at least initially) LINUX based.


    Other options exist that scale to 100s of nodes such as ADIC's StorNext, SANbolic, HP's Polyserv and Ibrix. All of these have been used in some HPC deployments and all of them support Windows.


    Another option is to use Windows Storage Server or another NAS offering. WSS can be "scaled out" using DFS-N.


    The best way to get more detailed information on the possibilites is to contact the vendor. I am also willing to talk about the options.




    Wednesday, June 4, 2008 11:20 PM
  • Hi Brian, thanks for your response.


    The problem with the *nix based systems you mention is twofold:


    1. they aren't here yet for Windows

    2. they aren't Windows based


    We've had experience of one of those which purported to have a Windows client already and it was awful. They know this (the vendors) which is why they're going to do it properly but it leaves me sceptical.


    The *nix based systems are also fundamentally different to support and work with than Windows. You tend to have to understand the OS at a lower level and we find people constantly tinkering. I understand why this is so but what we want is something that just works out of the box and has a relatively simple set of tuning parameters dependant upon workload. Parallel file systems are complex beasts and are pure infrastructure. This is what Microsoft does best. I want the low level stuff sorted and hidden away and instead have people concentrating on delivering value to the business.


    After all, this is why we're doing HPC on Windows isn't it?


    So, I doubt you'll tell me anyway but here goes. Is this something you might deliver in the future?




    Thursday, June 5, 2008 5:42 PM
  • Hi Jayne - no problem. I used to be one of those UNIX file system engineers.


    Of the three PFS systems the one that users tell me hides the *nix is Panasas since it is a contained "box".


    Do you need a PFS or can you get by with a SFS? In other words how many nodes do you have in your cluster and what are your performance requirements?





    Thursday, June 5, 2008 10:21 PM
  • Hi Brian,


    Thanks again for your response.


    I like what Panasas has done but I'd rather just buy software and use my own hardware. I really don't like having to buy complete hw+sw packages. It's too tying.


    We need to deliver data at a rate of ~25-50GB/sec, dependant upon workload so I can't see an SFS stepping up to the mark, can you?


    If I look at the growth rate of our data I can only see this situation getting worse with more and more data needing to be fed ever faster to bigger and bigger clusters. This again points to you guys being the right people to deliver a PFS...


    Kind Regards



    Friday, June 6, 2008 1:17 PM
  • Hi Jayne,


    I have seen SFS getting data rates in the 25-50 GB/s range on "fat" LINUX compute nodes. I can imagine the same can be done with Windows.




    Friday, June 6, 2008 10:01 PM
  • Hi Brian,


    Yet again, thank you for your reply.


    I think we'll investigate this - on Windows naturally!


    Still, it won't be long until we need 250-500 GB/sec. Perhaps by then MS might have its own PFS...


    Many thanks!




    Friday, June 6, 2008 10:47 PM



    if people are talking about HP's SFS (ie Lustre), I have heard that there will be a native windows client out sometime this year.  Depending on your data usage SFS is one of the fastest Parrallel file systems around




    Thursday, June 19, 2008 1:34 AM
  • Hi Alex


    SUN announced at LUG08 support for a Lustre Windows client in Lustre 2.0 that is targeted for the end of the year. Panasas has also announced at the SGI UG support for a Windows client in the fourth quarter.




    Friday, June 20, 2008 11:19 PM
  • If you need to have an "all-windows" parallel file system, you might want to look into Sanbolic MelioFS. Not quite as large scale as GPFS/Lustre, etc but will do the job for many.
    Monday, June 30, 2008 6:47 PM