General Parallel File System for the RS/6000 SP Improves Your File I/O Performance

Software Announcement
August 26, 1997
Announcement Letter Number: 297-318


Table of Contents:



At a Glance

This shared disk file system allows access to files within an RS/6000 SP system from any node on the system. Features include:

  • RS/6000 SP file I/O performance improvements

  • File data accessible from any node

  • X/Open 4.0 standards-compliant (with exceptions)

  • Data availability improvements

  • Administrative interfaces similar to other UNIX (R) file systems

  • Flexible configuration options
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Overview

IBM General Parallel File System for AIX (R) (GPFS) is a standards-compliant parallel file system that works on a shared disk model. It allows access to files within an RS/6000 (TM) SP (TM) System from any node in the system. This provides high-performance file I/O to parallel jobs running on multiple RS/6000 SP nodes or to serial applications that are scheduled to RS/6000 SP nodes based on processor availability. GPFS is the replacement for the Parallel I/O File System for AIX product.

GPFS can survive many system and I/O failures. By exploiting IBM Parallel System Support Programs for AIX, GPFS recovers from node failures without operator intervention. It will failover lock servers as necessary. To enhance the recoverability of files, GPFS is a logging file system that allows the re-creation of consistent structures; this means quicker recovery after node failure. In the event of disk connection failures, GPFS uses the IBM Recoverable Virtual Shared Disk and multitailed disks to continue to operate to the degree possible.

GPFS optionally replicates data to reduce the chances of losing data if storage media fails.

GPFS provides high performance for applications accessing medium to large files through striping. With GPFS, you have scalable performance as additional processor and disk hardware is added to the system.



Intended Customers

  • For all RS/6000 SP customers who require higher file I/O performance

  • LAN consolidation customers, as the remote file access bandwidths, standard call interfaces, and availability characteristics will be valued, giving serial applications real data location independence at the file system level

  • Customers who have continuous or high-availability SP environments with applications which use file I/O

  • Customers who need improved performance in their data-intensive applications

  • Existing NFS, AFS (R), DFS (TM), and PIOFS customers who have four or more nodes with an SP Switch should evaluate whether GPFS could improve their file performance



Key Prerequisites

  • RS/6000 SP System with SP Switch or High-Performance Switch
  • AIX Version 4.2.1
  • Parallel System Support Programs for AIX, Version 2.3
  • Recoverable Virtual Shared Disk Version 2.1
Planned Availability Date

November 7, 1997

------------------------------

This announcement is provided for your information only. For additional information, contact your IBM representative, call 800-IBM-4YOU, or visit the IBM home page at: %+%Start_URL%+% http://www.ibm.com



DESCRIPTION

General Parallel File System for AIX (GPFS) is a shared disk model parallel file system that executes on all nodes of an RS/6000 SP partition. It manages the processing of an application's file system requests on the application node and accesses the assigned disks through the use of the IBM Virtual Shared Disk component of the Parallel System Support Programs for AIX product. Thus, normal I/O communications occur using the simple disk-level protocol of the IBM Virtual Shared Disk, which provides enhanced performance over other protocols. The use of twin-tailed disks and backup IBM Virtual Shared Disk servers allows applications to continue to operate without interruption in the event of IBM Virtual Shared Disk server or disk adapter failure.

GPFS supports most of the file system standards of X/Open 4.0. The exceptions are described in the product documentation. This allows most applications programmed to these standards and compiled to AIX to use GPFS data without any modification. GPFS does not require non-standard extensions to access its function.

GPFS provides the capability to mount multiple file systems, which allows these file systems to have separate recovery scopes in the event of disk or other failures.

Most AIX applications work without change. AIX administrative functions such as df or mount also continue to operate; but GPFS has provided a parallel set of administrative functions that simplify multinode administration.

GPFS includes a token management facility that is used internally to provide the data consistency and atomicity required by the X/Open standard. It is also used to provide multinode fcntl locking capability.

GPFS cooperates with PSSP Group Services and Recoverable Virtual Shared Disk to provide recovery from many failures. Use of Recoverable Virtual Shared Disk with multiple IBM Virtual Shared Disk servers for all disks will allow your application to continue operating in the event of IBM Virtual Shared Disk server or disk adapter failures. Use of RAID or mirroring capabilities will make many disk failures also transparent to your application.

GPFS allows the replication of metadata to reduce the probability that media loss will cause loss of entire files. If a GPFS application node fails, GPFS recovery driven by Group Services will recover any locks held by the failing node and use the log to restore the file system to a consistent state. This will be transparent to the application except for the time required to do the actual recovery.



Year 2000

This product does not have date dependencies and is therefore Year 2000 ready.



PRODUCT POSITIONING

  • Replacement product for Parallel I/O File System

  • Scalable via striping, unlike NFS, AFS, or DFS

  • Recoverable unlike AFS or DFS

  • More standards-compliant than Parallel I/O File System
Trademarks
      RS/6000, SP, and DFS are trademarks of International Business
      Machines Corporation in the United States or other countries or
      both.
      AIX is a registered trademark of International Business
      Machines Corporation in the United States or other countries or
      both.
      UNIX is a registered trademark in the United States and other
      countries exclusively through X/Open Company Limited.
      AFS is a registered trademark of Transarc Corporation.
      Other company, product, and service names may be trademarks or
      service marks of others.



SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION



PUBLICATIONS

Additional copies of the General Parallel File System for AIX (R) Installation and Administration Guide (SA22-7278) can be ordered from Mechanicsburg after planned availability. To order, contact your IBM representative.

The General Parallel File System for AIX: Problem Determination Guide will be available from the RS/6000 (TM) Web site %+%Start_URL%+% http://www.rs6000.ibm.com. after November 7, 1997.



TECHNICAL INFORMATION



Specified Operating Environment

Hardware Requirements

  • RS/6000 SP (TM) System with the High Performance Switch or SP Switch.

  • General Parallel File System (GPFS) supports any disk that can be attached via the IBM Virtual Shared Disk.
Software Requirements
  • AIX Version 4, Release 2.1, or later modification levels (either 5765-655 or 5765-C34)

  • Parallel System Support Programs for AIX, Version 2 Release 3, or later (5765-529)

  • Recoverable Virtual Shared Disk Version 2.1 (5765-646)
    • The IBM Virtual Shared Disk image of PSSP must be installed before the installation of Recoverable Virtual Shared Disk.
Compatibility
  • UNIX (R) applications that use the open system standards will generally run without modification after being compiled as AIX-executable files.

  • GPFS is not compatible with applications coded to Parallel I/O File System-unique interfaces.

  • Applications that execute on the Parallel I/O File System and exploit the extensions of the Parallel I/O File System will not execute without modification. Data in the Parallel I/O File System can be copied to GPFS using standard AIX commands.
Limitations: Relative to the X/Open 4.0 standard, GPFS will not support memory mapped files (mmap), atime, mtime or ctime.

Performance Considerations

  • High remote I/O bandwidth through exploiting the SP Switch and/or High Performance Switch, and support for file system block sizes of 16KB, 64KB, or 256KB

  • Scalability via striping across multiple disks on multiple nodes, for file system, and the scalable bandwidth of the switch

  • Use of client buffer cache, read ahead, and write behind to reduce file I/O latency

  • Type and quantity of disk adapters and Micro Channels

  • Number and capacity of disks
Additional information is provided in the Managing Shared Disks publication provided with Parallel System Support Programs.



Planning Information

Customer Responsibilities: To plan for performance and recovery, customers should evaluate the number of disks attached to multiple IBM Virtual Shared Disk servers and have sufficient disks to replicate key control structures.

Installability: If your RS/6000 SP system has dedicated IBM Virtual Shared Disk server nodes, GPFS does not need to be installed on those nodes. However, if GPFS is not installed, you cannot access GPFS files from those nodes.

Packaging: IBM General Parallel File System is distributed in one package with:

  • General Parallel File System for AIX Installation and Administration Guide (SA22-7278)
  • IBM International Program License Agreement in multilanguage booklet and its License Information (LI)
  • Proof of Entitlement (PoE)
  • One tape cartridge, either 4-mm or 8-mm, as ordered
  • Memos



Security, Auditability, and Control

General Parallel File System for AIX uses the security and auditability features of the IBM AIX Version 4 operating system.

The customer is responsible for evaluation, selection, and implementation of security features, administrative procedures, and appropriate controls in application systems and communication facilities.



ORDERING INFORMATION

GPFS has one charge unit, the program package, that contains the license for use and one installation plus one node to run GPFS on the Control WorkStation (CWS). Use-Packs are in fixed order quantities of 1, 5, 10, and 50 and are ordered based on the number of nodes in your RS/6000 SP system that will be running GPFS.

GPFS is licensed per RS/6000 SP System, and Use-Packs must be ordered in quantities of nodes per system, not per enterprise.

Orders for new licenses will be accepted now. Delivery will begin one week following planned availability.

Program Name: General Parallel File System for AIX, Version 1

New users of General Parallel File System for AIX Version 1.1 should specify:

                              Asset
                              Feature
Type                          Number                   Model

5765 9001 B95

The one-time charge (OTC) feature number for the program package listed under Order Type Description, 4-mm or 8-mm media feature number, and OTC feature numbers for the Use-Pack that equals the use quantity desired.

Order Type:  5765-B95

OTC Feature Feature Description Number Number Medium

Program Package 4000 6234 8-mm tape 1 Use-Pack 4001 6235 4-mm tape 5 Use-Pack 4002 10 Use-Pack 4003 50 Use-Pack 4004

AIX/UNIX Upgrade Protection Plan: Customers who have enrolled in the AIX/UNIX Upgrade Protection Plan for IBM Parallel I/O File System for AIX (5765-297) are entitled to the GPFS through this plan and should be contacted and advised of the replacement product availability. It is the customer's decision when to take delivery of the new product. There is no automatic shipment; the product must be ordered.

To order the new product, process an MES order against 5692-ADV for the new supply feature number listed below.

Order Type:  5692-ADV

Supply Medium Feature Feature Description Number Number Medium

Upgrade Protection for 0521 3407 8-mm tape Parallel I/O File 3423 4-mm tape System, OTC or Annual Charge

To order the AIX/UNIX Upgrade Protection Plan for IBM General Parallel File System for AIX (5765-B95), select the OTC or annual charge feature number listed below for the program package and the 1 Use-Pack feature number for the desired quantity, and program number 5692-ADV.

Order Type:  5692-ADV

Annual OTC Charge Feature Feature Description Number Number

Upgrade Protection for GPFS

Program Package 4782 4783 1 Use-Pack 4784 4785

When ordering upgrade protection, select one of the following media types under 5692-ADV:

                                                       Medium
                                                       Feature
Medium                                                 Number

8-mm tape 3407 4-mm tape 3423

Withdrawal of AIX/UNIX Upgrade Protection Feature Numbers: The following features under the AIX/UNIX Upgrade Protection Plan are withdrawn as of this announcement.

Order Type:  5692-ADV

Annual OTC Charge Feature Feature Description Number Number

Upgrade Protection for 4202 4203 Parallel I/O File System 4204 4205 for AIX, Version 1, 4206 4207 5765-297 4208 4209

Customization Options: Select the appropriate feature numbers to customize your order to specify the delivery options desired. These features can be specified on the initial or MES orders.

Example: If publications are not desired for the initial order, specify feature number 3470 to ship media only. For future updates, specify feature number 3480 to ship media updates only. If, in the future, publication updates are required, order an MES to remove feature number 3480; then, the publications will ship with the next release of the program.

Initial Shipments

                                                       Feature
Description                                            Number

Serial Number Only 3444 (suppresses shipment of media and documentation)

Ship Media Only 3470 (suppresses initial shipment of documentation)

Ship Documentation Only 3471 (suppresses initial shipment of media)

Ship Media Updates Only 3480 (suppresses update shipment of documentation)

Ship Documentation Only 3481 (suppresses update shipment of media)

Suppress Updates 3482 (suppresses update shipment of media and documentation)

Local IBM Office Expedite 3445 (for IBM use only) Customer Expedite Process Charge 3446 ($30 charge for each product)

Expedite shipments will be processed to receive 72-hour delivery from the time IBM Software Manufacturing Solutions (SMS) receives the order. SMS will then ship the order via overnight air transportation.



TERMS AND CONDITIONS

Licensing: IBM International Program License Agreement. Proofs of Entitlement PoEs are required for all authorized use.

Limited Warranty: Yes

Program Services: Program Services for General Parallel File System Version 1 (5765-B95) will be available until June 30, 1999.

Program Services for Parallel I/O File System Version 1 (5765-297) will be available until December 31, 1998.

Guarantee: Two months, unconditional guarantee for program packages

Copy and Use on Home/Portable Computer: No

Support Line: AIX

Complimentary Introductory Support

Length of time:                            60 days
Must be part of
  Solution with:                           RS/6000 brand system
                                             acquired from IBM
Applies to:                                First installation in
                                             in customer enterprise

Upgrades: Customers may acquire upgrades up to the currently authorized level of use of the qualifying programs.

Volume Orders: Yes, contact your IBM representative

Software Advantage applies: No

Software Advantage Upgrade Protection applies: No

Entitled Upgrade for Current Upgrade Protection Licensees: No

Variable Charges Apply: No

Educational Allowance Available: Yes, to qualified educational institution customers.



CHARGES

The charges provided in this announcement are suggested retail prices for the U.S. only and are provided for your information only. Dealer prices may vary, and prices may also vary by country. Prices are subject to change without notice. For additional information and current prices, contact your local IBM representative.

IBM General Parallel File System for AIX (5765-B95)

Description OTC

Program Package $10,000 1 Use-Pack 2,500 5 Use-Pack 10,000 10 Use-Pack 17,500 50 Use-Pack 40,000

                                                           Annual
Description                             OTC                Charge

Optional Upgrade Protection

Program Package $2,500 $1,370 1 Use-Pack 625 340

Optional Support Line Charge: $90

Trademarks

      RS/6000 and SP are trademarks of International Business
      Machines Corporation in the United States or other countries or
      both.
      AIX is a registered trademark of International Business
      Machines Corporation in the United States or other countries or
      both.
      UNIX is a registered trademark in the United States and other
      countries exclusively through X/Open Company Limited.
      Other company, product, and service names may be trademarks or
      service marks of others.