About parallel I/O

Some distributed applications read and write to the same file concurrently from one or more nodes in the cluster; for example, any distributed application where one thread appends to a file and there are one or more threads reading from various regions in the file. Several high-performance compute (HPC) applications can also benefit from this feature, where concurrent I/O is performed on the same file. Applications do not require any changes to use parallel I/O.

Traditionally, the entire file is locked to perform I/O to a small region. To support parallel I/O, SFCFSHA locks ranges in a file that correspond to I/O requests. The granularity of the locked range is a page.Two I/O requests conflict if at least one is a write request, and the I/O range of the request overlaps the I/O range of the other.

The parallel I/O feature enables I/O to a file by multiple threads concurrently, as long as the requests do not conflict. Threads issuing concurrent I/O requests could be executing on the same node, or on different nodes in the cluster.

An I/O request that requires allocation is not executed concurrently with other I/O requests. Note that when a writer is extending the file and readers are lagging behind, block allocation is not necessarily done for each extending write.

Predetermine the file size and preallocate the file to avoid block allocations during I/O. This improves the concurrency of applications performing parallel I/O to the file. Parallel I/O also avoids unnecessary page cache flushes and invalidations using range locking, without compromising the cache coherency across the cluster.

For applications that update the same file from multiple nodes, the -nomtime mount option provides further concurrency. Modification and change times of the file are not synchronized across the cluster, which eliminates the overhead of increased I/O and locking. The timestamp seen for these files from a node may not have the time updates that happened in the last 60 seconds.