[Gluster-users] temp fix: Simultaneous reads and writes from specific apps to IPoIB volume seem to conflict and kill performance.

John Mark Walker johnmark at redhat.com
Tue Jul 24 17:55:28 UTC 2012

This is really good to know, as we've started to receive interest from a fair number of scientists in your world.

Could you do me a favor and write this up in a Q&A format at http://community.gluster.org/ ?


----- Harry Mangalam <hjmangalam at gmail.com> wrote:
> The problem described in the subject appears NOT to be the case.  It's
> not that simultaneous reads and writes dramatically decrease perf, but
> that the type of /writes/ being done by this app (bedtools) kills
> performance. If this was a self-writ app or an infrequently used one,
> I wouldn't bother writing this up, but bedtools is a fairly popular
> genomics app and since many installations use gluster to host Next-Gen
> sequencing data and analysis, I thought I'd follow up on my own post.
> The short version:
> =============
>  Insert gzip to compress and stream the data before sending it to
> gluster fs.  The improvement in IO (and application) performance is
> dramatic.
> ie (all files on a gluster fs)
> genomeCoverageBed -ibam RS_11261.bam  -g \
> ref/dmel-all-chromosome-r5.1.fasta -d |gzip > output.cov.gz
> inserting the '| gzip' increased the app speed by more than 30X
> (relative to not using it on a gluster fs; however it even improved
> the wall clock speed of the app relative to running on a local
> filesystem by about 1/3), decreased the gluster CPU utilization by
> ~99% and reduced the output size by 80%. So, wins all round.
> The long version:
> ============
>   The type of writes that bedtools does is also fairly common - lots
> of writes of tiny amounts of data.
> As I understand it (which may be wrong; please correct) the gluster
> native client (which we're using) does not buffer IO as well as the
> NFS client, which is why we frequently see complaints about gluster vs
> NFS perf.
> The apparent problem for bedtools is that these zillions of tiny
> writes are being handled separately or at least not cached well to be
> consolidated in a large write.  To present the data to gluster as a
> continuous stream instead of these tiny writes, they have to be
> 'converted' to such a stream. gzip is a nice solution because it
> compresses as it converts.  Aparently anything that takes STDIN,
> buffers it appropriately and then spits it out on STDOUT will work.
> Even piping the data thru 'cat' will work to allow bedtools to
> continue to run at 100%, tho it will increase the gluster CPU
> utilization to >90%. 'cat' of course uses less CPU (~14%) while gzip
> will use more  (~60%) tho decreasing gluster;s use enormously.
> I did try the performance options I mentioned earlier:
> performance.write-behind-window-size: 1024MB
> performance.flush-behind: on
>   They did not seem to help at all and I'd still like an explanation
> of what they're supposed to do.
> The upshot is that this seems like, if not a bug, then at least an
> opportunity to improve gluster perfomance considerably.
> -- 
> Harry Mangalam - Research Computing, OIT, Rm 225 MSTB, UC Irvine
> [m/c 2225] / 92697 Google Voice Multiplexer: (949) 478-4487
> 415 South Circle View Dr, Irvine, CA, 92697 [shipping]
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