Accelerating File Systems and Data Services with Computational Storage

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Wednesday, September 29, 2021
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Standardized computational storage services are frequently touted as the Next Big Thing in building faster, cheaper file systems and data services for large-scale data centers. However, many developers, storage architects and data center managers are still unclear on how best to deploy computational storage services and whether computational storage offers real promise in delivering faster, cheaper – more efficient – storage systems. In this talk we describe Los Alamos National Laboratory’s ongoing efforts to deploy computational storage into the HPC data center. We focus first on describing the quantifiable performance benefits offered by computational storage services. Second, we describe the techniques used at Los Alamos to integrate computational storage into ZFS, a fundamental building block for many of the distributed storage services provided for Los Alamos scientists. By developing ZIA, the ZFS Interface for Accelerators, Los Alamos is able to embed data processing elements along the data path and provide hardware acceleration for data intensive processing tasks currently performed on general purpose CPUs. Finally, we describe how computational storage is leading to a fundamental re-architecture of HPC platform storage systems and we describe the lessons learned and practical limitations when applying computational storage to data center storage systems.

  • Describe the current state of the art for computational storage
  • Describe what real performance limitations computational storage addresses
  • Describe why and how LANL modified ZFS to use computational storage (i.e. the ZFS Interface for Accelerators)
  • Describe what we've learned along the way and where we are trying to take computational storage next

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