Checkpointing for Peta-Scale Systems: A Look into the Future of Practical Rollback-Recovery

Elmootazbellah N. Elnozahy and James S. Plank.

IEEE Transactions on Dependable and Secure Computing, 1(2), April-June, 2004, pp. 97-108.

I do not have a copy of this online. Try Mootaz ( for reprints. If that fails, let me know and I can probably get you a copy.


Over the past two decades, rollback-recovery via checkpoint-restart has been used with reasonable success for long-running applications, such as scientific workloads that take from few hours to few months to complete. Currently, several commercial systems and publicly available libraries exist to support various flavors of checkpointing. Programmers typically use these systems if they are satisfactory or otherwise embed checkpointing support themselves within the application. In this paper, we project the performance and functionality of checkpointing algorithms and systems as we know them today into the future. We start by surveying the current technology roadmap and particularly how Peta-Flop capable systems may be plausibly constructed in the next few years. We consider how rollback-recovery as practiced today will fare when systems may have to be constructed out of thousands of nodes. Our projections predict that, unlike current practice, the effect of rollback-recovery may play a more prominent role in how systems may be configured to reach the desired performance level. System planners may have to devote additional resources to enable rollback-recovery and the current practice of using "cheap commodity" systems to form large-scale clusters may face serious obstacles. We suggest new avenues for research to react to these trends.

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