Design and evaluation of MPI file domain partitioning methods under extent-based file locking protocol

Wei Keng Liao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


MPI collective I/O has been an effective method for parallel shared-file access and maintaining the canonical orders of structured data in files. Its implementation commonly uses a two-phase I/O strategy that partitions a file into disjoint file domains, assigns each domain to a unique process, redistributes the I/O data based on their locations in the domains, and has each process perform I/O for the assigned domain. The partitioning quality determines the maximal performance achievable by the underlying file system, as the shared-file I/O has long been impeded by the cost of file system's data consistency control, particularly due to the conflicted locks. This paper proposes a few file domain partitioning methods designed to reduce lock conflicts under the extent-based file locking protocol. Experiments from four I/O benchmarks on the IBM GPFS and Lustre parallel file systems show that the partitioning method producing minimum lock conflicts wins the highest performance. The benefit of removing conflicted locks can be so significant that more than thirty times of write bandwidth differences are observed between the best and worst methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5445094
Pages (from-to)260-272
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2011


  • GPFS
  • Lustre
  • MPI-IO
  • Parallel I/O
  • file locking
  • parallel file system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Signal Processing
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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