Improving the Performance of Coordinated Checkpointers on Networks of Workstations using RAID Techniques

James S. Plank

15th Symposium on Reliable Distributed Systems, October, 1996, pages 76--85.

Available via anonymous ftp to in pub/plank/papers/ and pub/plank/papers/SRDS-15.pdf


Coordinated checkpointing systems are popular and general-purpose tools for implementing process migration, coarse-grained job swapping, and fault-tolerance on networks of workstations. Though simple in concept, there are several design decisions concerning the placement of checkpoint files that can impact the performance and functionality of coordinated checkpointers. Although several such checkpointers have been implemented for popular programming platforms like PVM and MPI, none have taken this issue into consideration.

This paper addresses the issue of checkpoint placement and its impact on the performance and functionality of coordinated checkpointing systems. Several strategies, both old and new, are described and implemented on a network of SPARC-5 workstations running PVM. These strategies range from very simple to more complex, borrowing heavily from ideas in RAID (Redundant Arrays of Inexpensive Disks) fault-tolerance. The results of this paper will serve as a guide so that future implementations of coordinated checkpointing can allow their users to achieve the combination of performance and functionality that is right for their applications.

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