Exploring the Future of Out-Of-Core Computing with Compute-Local Non-Volatile Memory


Drawing parallels to the rise of general purpose graphical processing units (GPGPUs) as accelerators for specific high-performance computing (HPC) workloads, there is a rise in the use of non-volatile memory (NVM) as accelerators for I/O-intensive scientific applications. However, existing works have explored use of NVM within dedicated I/O nodes, which are distant from the compute nodes that actually need such acceleration. As NVM bandwidth begins to out-pace point-to-point network capacity, we argue for the need to break from the archetype of completely separated storage.

Therefore, in this work we investigate co-location of NVM and compute by varying I/O interfaces, file systems, types of NVM, and both current and future SSD architectures, uncovering numerous bottlenecks implicit in these various levels in the I/O stack. We present novel hardware and software solutions, including the new Unified File System (UFS), to enable fuller utilization of the new compute-local NVM storage. Our experimental evaluation, which employs a real-world Out-of-Core (OoC) HPC application, demonstrates throughput increases in excess of an order of magnitude over current approaches.