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Parallel I/O and The Metadata Wall

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Executive Summary

Large HPC installations typically make use of parallel file systems that adhere to POSIX I/O conventions, and that implement a separation of data and metadata in order to maintain high performance. File systems such as GPFS and Lustre have evolved to enable an increase in data bandwidth that is primarily achieved by adding more disk drives behind an increasing number of disk controllers. Improvements in metadata performance cannot be achieved by just deploying a large volume of hardware, as the defining characteristics are the number of simultaneous operations that can be carried out and the latency of those operations.

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