Storage

A Case for Optimistic Coordination in HPC Storage Systems

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Executive Summary

High-Performance Computing (HPC) storage systems rely on access coordination to ensure that concurrent updates do not produce incoherent results. HPC storage systems typically employ pessimistic distributed locking to provide this functionality in cases where applications cannot perform their own coordination. This approach, however, introduces significant performance overhead and complicates fault handling. In this paper, the authors evaluate the viability of optimistic conditional storage operations as an alternative to distributed locking in HPC storage systems. They investigate design strategies and compare the two approaches in a prototype object storage system using a parallel read/modify/write benchmark. Their prototype illustrates that conditional operations can be easily integrated into distributed object storage systems and can outperform standard coordination primitives for simple update workloads.

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