PVFS: A Parallel File System for Linux Clusters


As Linux clusters have matured as platforms for low-cost, high-performance parallel computing, software packages to provide many key services have emerged, especially in areas such as message passing and networking. One area devoid of support, however, has been parallel file systems, which are critical for high-performance I/O on such clusters. We have developed a parallel file system for Linux clusters, called the Parallel Virtual File System (PVFS). PVFS is intended both as a high-performance parallel file system that anyone can download and use and as a tool for pursuing further research in parallel I/O and parallel file systems for Linux clusters. In this paper, we describe the design and implementation of PVFS and present performance results on the Chiba City cluster at Argonne. We provide performance results for a workload of concurrent reads and writes for various numbers of compute nodes, I/O nodes, and I/O request sizes. We also present performance results for MPI-IO on PVFS, both for a concurrent read/write workload and for the BTIO benchmark. We compare the I/O performance when using a Myrinet network versus a fast-ethernet network for I/O-related communication in PVFS. We obtained read and write bandwidths as high as 700 Mbytes/sec with Myrinet and 225 Mbytes/sec with fast ethernet.