Radio Free HPC Discusses the IO500 Benchmark Suite with John Bent

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John Bent from DDN is a founding member of the IO500 Benchmark Committee

In this podcast, the Radio Free HPC team talks to John Bent from the IO500 committee about why he and a team of I/O professionals created the IO500 benchmark suite. The second IO500 list was revealed at ISC 2018 in Frankfurt, Germany.

Following the success of the Top500 in collecting and analyzing historical trends in supercomputer technology and evolution, the IO500 was created in 2017 and published its first list at SC17. The need for such an initiative has long been known within High Performance Computing; however, defining appropriate benchmarks had long been challenging. Despite this challenge, the community, after long and spirited discussion, finally reached consensus on a suite of benchmarks and a metric for resolving the scores into a single ranking.

The multi-fold goals of the benchmark suite are as follows:

  1. Maximizing simplicity in running the benchmark suite
  2. Encouraging complexity in tuning for performance
  3. Allowing submitters to highlight their “hero run” performance numbers
  4. Forcing submitters to simultaneously report performance for challenging IO patterns.

Specifically, the benchmark suite includes a hero-run of both IOR and mdtest configured however possible to maximize performance and establish an upper-bound for performance. It also includes an IOR and mdtest run with highly prescribed parameters in an attempt to determine a lower-bound. Finally, it includes a namespace search as this has been determined to be a highly sought-after feature in HPC storage systems that has historically not been well-measured. Submitters are encouraged to share their tuning insights for publication.

Once again, we encourage you to submit (see, to join our community, and to attend our BoF “The IO-500 and the Virtual Institute of I/O” at ISC 2018 where we will announce the second ever IO500 list. The current list includes results from BeeGFS, DataWarp, IME, Lustre, and Spectrum Scale. We hope that the next list has even more.

In this video from ISC 2018, John Bent and Jay Lofstead describe how the IO500 benchmark measures storage performance in HPC environments.

After that, we do our Catch of the Week:

  • Shahin notes that Apple has become the first Trillion-dollar company. He was also on a AI panel where they talked about how the HR department may soon become the Human and Machine Resources Department.
  • Henry points us to the story that DEFCON conference is hosting a contest for 8 year olds to hack government election sites.
  • Rich is taunting Dan with the impressive specifications on his new I9-powered MacBook Pro. There will be a render-off.
  • John Bent went to Google IO and says they were very excited about their new Gmail feature that will auto-compose emails for you. Rich wants to use it on illiterate PR people who think they can call him at 4 am.
  • Dan likes the story about the man who ran out of data on his phone and woke a sleeping couple in Palo Alto to demand they give him their WiFi password. The incident started a crime spree, as the man stole their kid’s bicycle to flee the scene.

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