SIONlib  1.7.7
Scalable I/O library for parallel access to task-local files
Using SIONlib for Resiliency


Growing to exascale the need for resiliency features arises since the probability for any node to fail increases with the number of nodes (assuming a constant mean time between failure).

Resiliency using SIONlib


The typical use of SIONlib is for creating checkpoints of the application. From the application side the data that should to be written needs to be serialized. This binary data can then be saved to persistent storage.

In terms of resiliency this is the most simple way to save the global state of the application. The main advantage is that these checkpoints can be used as ordinary restart points for the application independent of the termination of the application happens in purpose or due to a failure of a node. Since for larger applications the probability of failure increases, the cost of this kind of resiliency will at some point be to high.

Therefore it is useful to save checkpoints on a caching layer close to the node in order to decrease the time spent in initializing the restart. This can be achieved by some local storage, which does not need to be visible globally. Here each node just reads its local data which is needed for the restart.

Buddy checkpointing

For more catastrophic failures of nodes, which do not let all nodes restart immediately a concept of buddy checkpointing offers a possible solution, which is still faster than a full classical checkpoint. In order to be able to restart without the need of accessing the global file system, each node holds its own checkpoint and another one from a buddy node.

+-----------------+ +-----------------+ +---------------------+
| n_0 | -> | n_1 | -> ... -> | n_k |
|-----------------| |-----------------| |---------------------|
| data_0 | data_k | | data_1 | data_0 | | data_k | data_[k-1] |
+-----------------+ +-----------------+ +---------------------+
^ |
| |

With this strategy each of the nodes which are able to rerun the application is able to restart from its last local checkpoint, while a possible spare node, which replaces a failed one, can receive its checkpoint from its buddy node.

It is important to note that each node also needs to save its own checkpoint since otherwise the spare node can receive its data, but the buddy of the failed node will loose its checkpoint.


The implementation in SIONlib will use individual files for each of the copies of the data. Using this approach is quite similar to the multi-file approach SIONlib uses for splitting one logical sion file into multiple physical files. The advantage of using individual files for its own data and for its buddy's is the ability to work with each of these like usual multi-files without need of handling it in a special way.

Enabling buddy checkpointing will be done via an additional flag "buddycheckpoint". On systems on which SIONlib can exploit some sort of caching layer which is faster than the connection to the global storage, this higher performance can be used by SIONlib to decrease the time needed for a recovery after failure. The according flag "localcache" is used to make SIONlib try to use the caching layer.