11.9. Open MPI IO (“OMPIO”)


11.9.1. What is the OMPIO?

OMPIO is an implementation of the MPI I/O functions defined in version two of the Message Passing Interface specification. The main goals of OMPIO are:

  1. Increase the modularity of the parallel I/O library by separating MPI I/O functionality into sub-frameworks.

  2. Allow frameworks to utilize different run-time decision algorithms to determine which module to use in a particular scenario, enabling non-file-system-specific decisions.

  3. Improve the integration of parallel I/O functions with other components of Open MPI, most notably the derived data type engine and the progress engine. The integration with the derived data type engine allows for faster decoding of derived data types and the usage of optimized data type to data type copy operations.

OMPIO is fundamentally a component of the io framework in Open MPI. Upon opening a file, the OMPIO component initializes a number of sub-frameworks and their components, namely:

  • fs: responsible for all file management operations

  • fbtl: support for individual blocking and non-blocking I/O operations

  • fcoll: support for collective blocking and non-blocking I/O operations

  • sharedfp: support for all shared file pointer operations.


11.9.2. How can I use OMPIO?

OMPIO is included in Open MPI and is used by default when invoking MPI IO API functions.


11.9.3. How do I know what MCA parameters are available for tuning the performance of OMPIO?

The ompi_info command can display all the parameters available for the OMPIO io, fcoll, fs, and sharedfp components:

shell$ ompi_info --param io       ompio
shell$ ompi_info --param fcoll    all
shell$ ompi_info --param fs       all
shell$ ompi_info --param sharedfp all

11.9.4. How can I choose the right component for a sub-framework of OMPIO?

The OMPIO architecture is designed around sub-frameworks, which allow you to develop a relatively small amount of code optimized for a particular environment, application, or infrastructure. Although significant efforts have been invested into making good decisions for default values and switching points between components, users and/or system administrators might occasionally want to tune the selection logic of the components and force the utilization of a particular component.

The simplest way to force the usage of a component is to simply restrict the list of available components for that framework. For example, an application wanting to use the dynamic fcoll component simply has to pass the name of the component as a value to the corresponding MCA parameter during mpirun or any other mechanism available in Open MPI to influence a parameter value, e.g.:

shell$ mpirun --mca fcoll dynamic -n 64 ./a.out

fs and fbtl components are typically chosen based on the file system type utilized (e.g. the pvfs2 component is chosen when the file is located on an PVFS2 file system, the lustre component is chosen for Lustre file systems, etc.).

The fcoll framework provides several different implementations, which provide different levels of data reorganization across processes. two_phase, dynamic segmentation, static segmentation and individual provide decreasing communication costs during the shuffle phase of the collective I/O operations (in the order listed here), but provide also decreasing contiguity guarantuees of the data items before the aggregators read/write data to/from the file. The current decision logic in OMPIO is using the file view provided by the application as well as file system level characteristics (stripe width of the file system) in the selection logic of the fcoll framework.

The sharedfp framework provides a different implementation of the shared file pointer operations depending on file system features, such as:

  • lockfile: support for file locking.

  • sm: locality of the MPI processes in the communicator that has been used to open the file.

  • individual: guarantees by the application on using only a subset of the available functionality (i.e. write operations only).


11.9.5. How can I tune OMPIO parameters to improve performance?

The most important parameters influencing the performance of an I/O operation are listed below:

  1. io_ompio_cycle_buffer_size: Data size issued by individual reads/writes per call. By default, an individual read/write operation will be executed as one chunk. Splitting the operation up into multiple, smaller chunks can lead to performance improvements in certain scenarios.

  2. io_ompio_bytes_per_agg: Size of temporary buffer for collective I/O operations on aggregator processes. Default value is 32MB. Tuning this parameter has a very high impact on the performance of collective operations.

    Note

    Be sure to also see recommendations for tuning collective operations.

  3. io_ompio_num_aggregators: Number of aggregators used in collective I/O operations. Setting this parameter to a value larger zero disables the internal automatic aggregator selection logic of OMPIO. Tuning this parameter has a very high impact on the performance of collective operations.

    Note

    Be sure to also see recommendations for tuning collective operations.

  4. io_ompio_grouping_option: Algorithm used to automatically decide the number of aggregators used. Applications working with regular 2-D or 3-D data decomposition can try changing this parameter to 4 (hybrid) algorithm.


11.9.6. What are the main parameters of the fs framework and components?

The main parameters of the fs components allow you to manipulate the layout of a new file on a parallel file system.

  1. fs_pvfs2_stripe_size: Sets the number of storage servers for a new file on a PVFS2 file system. If not set, system default will be used. Note that this parameter can also be set through the stripe_size MPI Info value.

  2. fs_pvfs2_stripe_width: Sets the size of an individual block for a new file on a PVFS2 file system. If not set, system default will be used. Note that this parameter can also be set through the stripe_width MPI Info value.

  3. fs_lustre_stripe_size: Sets the number of storage servers for a new file on a Lustre file system. If not set, system default will be used. Note that this parameter can also be set through the stripe_size MPI Info value.

  4. fs_lustre_stripe_width: Sets the size of an individual block for a new file on a Lustre file system. If not set, system default will be used. Note that this parameter can also be set through the stripe_width MPI Info value.


11.9.7. What are the main parameters of the fbtl framework and components?

No performance relevant parameters are currently available for the fbtl components.


11.9.8. What are the main parameters of the fcoll framework and components?

The design of the fcoll frameworks maximizes the utilization of parameters of the OMPIO component, in order to minimize the number of similar MCA parameters in each component.

For example, the two_phase, dynamic, and static components all retrieve the io_ompio_bytes_per_agg parameter to define the collective buffer size and the io_ompio_num_aggregators parameter to force the utilization of a given number of aggregators.


11.9.9. What are the main parameters of the sharedfp framework and components?

No performance relevant parameters are currently available for the sharedfp components.


11.9.10. How do I tune collective I/O operations?

The most influential parameter that can be tuned in advance is the io_ompio_bytes_per_agg parameter of the ompio component. This parameter is essential for the selection of the collective I/O component as well for determining the optimal number of aggregators for a collective I/O operation. It is a file system-specific value, independent of the application scenario. To determine the correct value on your system, take an I/O benchmark (e.g., the IMB or IOR benchmark) and run an individual, single process write test. E.g., for IMB:

shell$ mpirun -n 1 ./IMB-IO S_write_indv

For IMB, use the values obtained for AGGREGATE test cases. Plot the bandwidth over the message length. The recommended value for io_ompio_bytes_per_agg is the smallest message length which achieves (close to) maximum bandwidth from that process’s perspective.

Note

Make sure that the io_ompio_cycle_buffer_size parameter is set to -1 when running this test, which is its default value). The value of io_ompio_bytes_per_agg could be set by system administrators in the system-wide Open MPI configuration file, or by users individually. See this FAQ item on setting MCA parameters for details.

For more exhaustive tuning of I/O parameters, we recommend the utilization of the Open Tool for Parameter Optimization (OTPO), a tool specifically designed to explore the MCA parameter space of Open MPI.


11.9.11. When should I use the individual sharedfp component, and what are its limitations?

The individual sharedfp component provides an approximation of shared file pointer operations that can be used for write operations only. It is only recommended in scenarios, where neither the sm nor the lockedfile component can be used, e.g., due to the fact that more than one node are being used and the file system does not support locking.

Conceptually, each process writes the data of a write_shared operation into a separate file along with a time stamp. In every collective operation (latest in file_close), data from all individual files are merged into the actual output file, using the time stamps as the main criteria.

The component has certain limitations and restrictions, such as its relience on the synchronization accuracy of the clock on the cluster to determine the order between entries in the final file, which might lead to some deviations compared to the actual calling sequence.


11.9.12. What other features of OMPIO are available?

OMPIO has a number of additional features, mostly directed towards developers, which could occasionally also be useful to interested end-users. These can typically be controlled through MCA parameters.

  • io_ompio_sharedfp_lazy_open: By default, ompio does not establish the necessary data structures required for shared file pointer operations during file_open. It delays generating these data structures until the first utilization of a shared file pointer routine. This is done mostly to minimize the memory footprint of ompio, and due to the fact that shared file pointer operations are rarely used compared to the other functions. Setting this parameter to 0 disables this optimization.

  • io_ompio_coll_timing_info: Setting this parameter will lead to a short report upon closing a file indicating the amount of time spent in communication and I/O operations of collective I/O operations only.

  • io_ompio_record_file_offset_info: Setting this parameter will report neighborhood relationship of processes based on the file view used. This is occasionally important for understanding performance characteristics of I/O operations. Note, that using this features requires an additional compile time flag when compiling ompio.

    The output file generated as a result of this flag provides the access pattern of processes to the file recorded as neighborhood relationships of processes as a matrix. For example, if the first four bytes of a file are being accessed by process 0 and the next four bytes by process 1, processes 0 and 1 are said to have a neighborhood relationship since they access neighboring elements of the file. For each neighborhood relation detected in the file, the value for the corresponding pair of processes is increased by one.

    Data is provided in compressed row storage format. To minimize the amount of data written using this feature, only non-zero values are output. The first row in the output file indicates the number of non-zero elements in the matrix; the second number is the number of elements in the row index. The third row of the output file gives all the column indexes. The fourth row lists all the values and the fifth row gives the row index. A row index represents the position in the value array where a new row starts.


11.9.13. Known limitations

OMPIO implements most of the I/O functionality of the MPI specification. There are, however, two not very commonly used functions that are not implemented as of today:

  • Switching from the relaxed consistency semantics of MPI to stricter, sequential consistency through the MPI_File_set_atomicity functions

  • Using user defined data representations

Error

TODO Are these still accurate?