UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Transport level features for commodity clusters Penoff, Bradley Thomas


There is a need for systems to provide additional processing to extract useful information from the growing amounts of data. High Performance Computing (HPC) techniques use large clusters comprised of commodity hardware and software to provide the necessary computation when a single machine does not suffice. In addition to the increase in data, there have been other architectural changes like the advent of multicore and the presence of multiple networks on a single compute node, yet the commodity transport protocols in use have not adapted. It is therefore an opportune time to revisit the question of which transport features are necessary in order to best support today’s applications. Popular in HPC, we use the Message Passing Interface (MPI) to provide support for large scale parallel applications. We propose features to the transport protocol to overcome the problems with reliability, performance, and design simplicity existing in Ethernet-based commodity clusters. We use the Stream Control Transmission Protocol (SCTP) as a vehicle to implement tools having the proposed transport features for MPI. We develop several SCTP-based MPI implementations, a full-featured userspace SCTP stack, as well as enable the execution of unmodified MPI programs over a simulated network and SCTP implementation. The tools themselves provide the HPC and networking communities means to utilize improved transport features for MPI by way of SCTP. The tools developed in this thesis are used to show that the proposed transport features enable further capabilities regarding the performance, reliability, and design simplicity of MPI applications running on Ethernet-based cluster systems constructed out of commodity components.

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