Designing an All-Flash Lustre File System for the 2020 NERSC Perlmutter System

Glenn K. Lockwood, NERSC and LBNL

New experimental and AI-driven workloads are moving into the realm of extreme-scale HPC systems at the same time that high-performance flash is becoming cost-effective to deploy at scale. This confluence poses a number of new technical and economic challenges and opportunities in designing the next generation of HPC storage and I/O subsystems to achieve the right balance of bandwidth, latency, endurance, and cost. In this paper, we present the quantitative approach to requirements definition that resulted in the 30 PB all-flash Lustre file system that will be deployed with NERSC's upcoming Perlmutter system in 2020. By integrating analysis of current workloads and projections of future performance and throughput, we were able to constrain many critical design space parameters and quantitatively demonstrate that Perlmutter will not only deliver optimal performance, but effectively balance cost with capacity, endurance, and many modern features of Lustre.