MCAE MCS/NASTRAN faster on Sun F5100 and Fire X4270
By 11111 on Oct 12, 2009
Significance of Results
The Sun Storage F5100 Flash Array can double performance over internal hard disk drives as shown by the I/O intensive MSC/Nastran MCAE application MDR3 benchmark tests on a Sun Fire X4270 server.
The MD Nastran MDR3 benchmarks were run on a single Sun Fire X4270 server. The I/O intensive test cases were run at different core levels from one up to the maximum of 8 available cores in SMP mode.
The MSC/Nastran MD 2008 R3 module is an MCAE application based on the finite element method (FEA) of analysis. This computer based numerical method inherently involves a substantial I/O component. The purpose was to evaluate the performance of the Sun Storage F5100 Flash Array relative to high performance 15K RPM internal stripped HDDs.
The Sun Storage F5100 Flash Array outperformed the high performance 15K RPM SAS drives on the "xx0cmd2" test case by 107% in the 8-core server configuration.
The Sun Storage F5100 Flash Array outperformed the high performance 15K RPM SAS drives on the "xl0tdf1"test case by 85% in the 8-core server configuration.
The MD Nastran MDR3 test suite was designed to include some very I/O intensive test cases albeit some are not very scalable. These cases are the called "xx0wmd0" and "xx0xst0". Both were run and results are presented using a single core server configuration.
The Sun Storage F5100 Flash Array outperformed the high performance 15K RPM SAS drives on the "xx0xst0"test case by 33% in the single-core server configuration.
The Sun Storage F5100 Flash Array outperformed the high performance 15K RPM SAS drives on the "xx0wmd0"test case by 20% in the single-core server configuration.
MD Nastran MDR3 Benchmark Tests
Results in seconds
|Test Case||DMP||4x15K RPM
72 GB SAS HDD
striped HW RAID0
r/w buff 4096
Results and Configuration SummaryHardware Configuration:
Sun Fire X4270
2 x 2.93 GHz QC Intel Xeon X5570 processors
24 GB memory
4 x 72 GB 15K RPM striped (HW RAID0) SAS disks
20 x 24 GB flash modules
O/S: 64-bit SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 SP 2
Application: MSC/NASTRAN MD 2008 R3
Benchmark: MDR3 Benchmark Test Suite
HP MPI: 02.03.00.00  Linux x86-64
The benchmark tests are representative of typical MSC/Nastran applications including both SMP and DMP runs involving linear statics, nonlinear statics, and natural frequency extraction.
The MD (Multi Discipline) Nastran 2008 application performs both structural (stress) analysis and thermal analysis. These analyses may be either static or transient dynamic and can be linear or nonlinear as far as material behavior and/or deformations are concerned. The new release includes the MARC module for general purpose nonlinear analyses and the Dytran module that employs an explicit solver to analyze crash and high velocity impact conditions.
Please go here for a more complete description of the tests.
Key Points and Best Practices
Based on the maximum physical memory on a platform the user can stipulate the maximum portion of this memory that can be allocated to the Nastran job. This is done on the command line with the mem= option. On Linux based systems where the platform has a large amount of memory and where the model does not have large scratch I/O requirements the memory can be allocated to a tmpfs scratch space file system. On Solaris X64 systems advantage can be taken of ZFS for higher I/O performance.
The MD Nastran MDR3 test cases don't scale very well, a few not at all and the rest on up to 8 cores at best.
The test cases for the MSC/Nastran module all have a substantial I/O component where 15% to 25% of the total run times are associated with I/O activity (primarily scratch files). The required scratch file size ranges from less than 1 GB on up to about 140 GB. Performance will be enhanced by using the fastest available drives and striping together more than one of them or using a high performance disk storage system, further enhanced as indicated here by implementing the Lustre based I/O system. High performance interconnects such as InfiniBand for inter node cluster message passing as well as I/O transfer from the storage system can also enhance performance substantially.
- MSC/Nastran Benchmark Results
- http://wikis.sun.com/display/BluePrints/Solid+State+Drives+in+HPC+-+Reducing+the+IO+Bottleneck, Sun BluePrints Online
MSC.Software is a registered trademark of MSC. All information on the MSC.Software website is copyrighted. MD Nastran MDR3 results from http://www.mscsoftware.com and this report as of October 12, 2009.