Apache Spark on Supercomputers: A Tale of the Storage Hierarchy - Databricks

Apache Spark on Supercomputers: A Tale of the Storage Hierarchy

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In this session, the speakers will discuss their experiences porting Apache Spark to the Cray XC family of supercomputers. One scalability bottleneck is in handling the global file system present in all large-scale HPC installations. Using two techniques (file open pooling, and mounting the Spark file hierarchy in a specific manner), they were able to improve scalability from O(100) cores to O(10,000) cores. This is the first result at such a large scale on HPC systems, and it had a transformative impact on research, enabling their colleagues to run on 50,000 cores.
With this baseline performance fixed, they will then discuss the impact of the storage hierarchy and of the network on Spark performance. They will contrast a Cray system with two levels of storage with a “data intensive” system with fast local SSDs. The Cray contains a back-end global file system and a mid-tier fast SSD storage. One conclusion is that local SSDs are not needed for good performance on a very broad workload, including spark-perf, TeraSort, genomics, etc.

They will also provide a detailed analysis of the impact of latency of file and network I/O operations on Spark scalability. This analysis is very useful to both system procurements and Spark core developers. By examining the mean/median value in conjunction with variability, one can infer the expected scalability on a given system. For example, the Cray mid-tier storage has been marketed as the magic bullet for data intensive applications. Initially, it did improve scalability and end-to-end performance. After understanding and eliminating variability in I/O operations, they were able to outperform any configurations involving mid-tier storage by using the back-end file system directly. They will also discuss the impact of network performance and contrast results on the Cray Aries HPC network with results on InfiniBand.

Session hashtag: #SFr5

About Costin Iancu

I am performing research in the areas of programming models and code optimization for large scale parallel systems. I tend to favor simple and practical designs. Over the years I've been involved in several projects resulting in both industry technology transfer and widely used open source software, e.g. The Berkeley UPC Compiler.

About Nicholas Chaimov

Nicholas Chaimov is a PhD candidate at the University of Oregon. His dissertation research is in performance analysis, diagnosis and adaptation for task-based runtime systems for high-performance computing.