[erlang-questions] Sending a large Erlang content to a set of remote nodes

Olivier BOUDEVILLE <>
Fri Mar 29 10:46:54 CET 2013


Hello Joe,

 a écrit sur 28/03/2013 18:44:08 :

> How big is the set of remote VMs (how many dozens?) -
> Is the communication bandwidth between machines symmetric.
> 
> Once two machines have got a copy they could *both* send the data to a 
third.
> Machine one sends the first half, machine two the second. Now three 
> machines have a copy
> 
> Now three machines can send a copy to a fourth, the first can send 
> the first third, ...
> and so on.
> 
> Lookup epidemic gossip protocols. 
> 
> This is a very nice exercise in parallel programming.

Yes, I agree; I had thought to a similar "peer-to-peer" mechanism (like 
also the one Bob hinted) but for my use case currently I think it would be 
a bit of an overkill.

To introduce more context, the setting is a distributed discrete-time 
simulation engine (Sim-Diasca) running on a HPC cluster (hence indeed with 
rather homogeneous hosts and symmetric network links, at least a few 
dozens of them) where sendfile will now be used (in replacement of 
previous solutions) for at least two purposes:

        - during the deployment phase: sending a compressed archive, 
containing the simulator code and data, dedicated to all computing nodes 
(as no prerequisite is expected to be available on them beforehand); 
currently the simulation archive is usually rather small, and various 
delays result in the parallel deployment processes being not really 
synchronised (hence no "multi-sendfile" - one file reading, multiple TCP 
sendings - could be really useful there)

        - during a recovery phase: to address any reliability issue which 
could happen on future large-scale simulations (despite a good MTBF for 
each core/host/link, a sufficiently large number of cores would make 
failures almost certain for longer simulations), the user will be able to 
specify the maximum number (k) of hosts that may be simultaneously lost in 
the course of the simulation without having it crashing; for that, each 
time a simulation milestone is met, each node (one node per host 
currently) is to send a compressed file containing a serialization of its 
full state (mostly the state of its model instances) to the k nodes 
securing it, in order that a simulation rollback can be performed in case 
of up-to-k simultaneous crashes; the size of each file should be roughly 
the same as the one of the RAM of the corresponding node (some gigabytes), 
and sendfile will be very useful there; a "multi-sendfile" (reading the 
serialization file once, sending it to the k securing nodes 
simultaneously) could be useful there, however it is low-priority for us, 
and the current sendfile seems already a very good solution for that 
(thanks Tuncer!); moreover, as during this phase each node will send its 
state to its k securing nodes and reciprocally will receive the 
serialization information from the k nodes it secures, a kind of uniform, 
already-saturating network load should exist by design 

But if ever there was in the future an Erlang-based generic, efficient, 
transparent peer-to-peer file-exchange service between a set of nodes, of 
course I would gladly integrate it :0) 

Best regards,

Olivier.

> 
> Cheers
> 
> /Joe
> 
>  
> 
> I was searching for a solution that would be 
> reliable/simple/efficient to do so (preferably in that order), 
> knowing that these terms could be either be kept in the RAM of the 
> sender or, maybe preferably (the size of the data being probably 
> roughly on par with the local RAM), as a compressed file on disk. 
> 
> Currently I send a binary, compressed archive thanks to a basic 
> Erlang message, but I think it is not a good practice (ex: maybe the
> kernel ticks are not sent "out of band" and their delaying by larger
> archives could trigger spurious time-outs). I imagine sendfile with 
> enough async threads could be a good candidate, however I am unsure 
> that the same content (either as a whole or by chunks) could be read
> once, yet be sent to multiple recipients. 
> 
> Any idea? 
> 
> Thanks in advance for any hint! 
> 
> Best regards, 
> 
> Olivier.
> ---------------------------
> Olivier Boudeville
> 
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