The Sun Storage F5100 Flash Array can substantially improve performance over internal hard disk drives as shown by the I/O intensive ABAQUS MCAE application Standard benchmark tests on a Sun Fire X4270 server.

The I/O intensive ABAQUS "Standard" benchmarks test cases were run on a single Sun Fire X4270 server. Data is presented for runs at both 8 and 16 thread counts.

The ABAQUS "Standard" 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 striped HDDs.

  • The Sun Storage F5100 Flash Array outperformed the high performance 15K RPM SAS drives on the "S4b" test case by 14%.

  • The Sun Fire X4270 server coupled with a Sun Storage F5100 Flash Array established the world record performance on a single node for the four test cases S2A, S4B, S4D and S6.

Performance Landscape

ABAQUS "Standard" Benchmark Test S4B: Advantage of Sun Storage F5100

Results are total elapsed run times in seconds

Threads 4x15K RPM
striped HW RAID0 Sun F5100
r/w buff 4096
striped Sun F5100
Advantage 8 1504 1318 14% 16 1811 1649 10%

ABAQUS Standard Server Benchmark Subset: Single Node Record Performance

Results are total elapsed run times in seconds

Platform Cores S2a S4b S4d S6 X4270 w/F5100 8 302 1192 779 1237 HP BL460c G6 8 324 1309 843 1322 X4270 w/F5100 4 552 1970 1181 1706 HP BL460c G6 4 561 2062 1234 1812 Results and Configuration Summary

Hardware Configuration:
  • Sun Fire X4270
    • 2 x 2.93 GHz QC Intel Xeon X5570 processors
      Hyperthreading enabled
      24 GB memory
      4 x 72 GB 15K RPM striped (HW RAID0) SAS disks
    Sun Storage F5100 Flash Array
    • 20 x 24 GB flash modules
      Intel controller
Software Configuration:

  • O/S: 64-bit SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 SP 2
    Application: ABAQUS V6.9-1 Standard Module
    Benchmark: ABAQUS Standard Benchmark Test Suite
Benchmark Description

Abaqus/Standard Benchmark Problems

These problems provide an estimate of the performance that can be expected when running Abaqus/Standard or similar commercially available MCAE (FEA) codes like ANSYS and MSC/Nastran on different computers. The jobs are representative of those typically analyzed by Abaqus/Standard and other MCAE applications. These analyses include linear statics, nonlinear statics, and natural frequency extraction.

Please go here for a more complete description of the tests.

Key Points and Best Practices

  • The memory requirements for the test cases in the ABAQUS Standard benchmark test suite are rather substantial with some of the test cases requiring slightly over 20GB of memory. There are two memory limits one a minimum where out of core "memory" will be used when this limit is exceeded. This requires more time consuming cpu and another maximum memory limit that minimizes I/O operations. These memory limits are given in the ABAQUS output and can be established before making a full execution in a preliminary diagnostic mode run.

  • 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 ABAQUS job. This is done in the "abaqus_v6.env" file that either resides in the subdirectory from where the job was launched or in the abaqus "site" subdirectory under the home installation directory.

  • Sometimes when running multiple cores on a single node, it is preferable from a performance standpoint to run in "smp" shared memory mode This is specified using the "THREADS" option on the "mpi_mode" line in the abaqus_v6.env file as opposed to the "MPI" option on this line. The test case considered here illustrates this point.

  • The test cases for the ABAQUS standard 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). 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 with high performance interconnects. On Linux OS's advantage can be taken of excess memory that can be used to cache and accelerate I/O.

See Also

Disclosure Statement

The following are trademarks or registered trademarks of Abaqus, Inc. or its subsidiaries in the United States and/or o ther countries: Abaqus, Abaqus/Standard, Abaqus/Explicit. All information on the ABAQUS website is Copyrighted 2004-2009 by Dassault Systemes. Results from as of October 12, 2009.