Reinit\(^{++}\): Evaluating the Performance of Global-Restart Recovery Methods for MPI Fault Tolerance

Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 12151)


Scaling supercomputers comes with an increase in failure rates due to the increasing number of hardware components. In standard practice, applications are made resilient through checkpointing data and restarting execution after a failure occurs to resume from the latest checkpoint. However, re-deploying an application incurs overhead by tearing down and re-instating execution, and possibly limiting checkpointing retrieval from slow permanent storage.

In this paper we present Reinit\(^{++}\), a new design and implementation of the Reinit approach for global-restart recovery, which avoids application re-deployment. We extensively evaluate Reinit\(^{++}\) contrasted with the leading MPI fault-tolerance approach of ULFM, implementing global-restart recovery, and the typical practice of restarting an application to derive new insight on performance. Experimentation with three different HPC proxy applications made resilient to withstand process and node failures shows that Reinit\(^{++}\) recovers much faster than restarting, up to 6\(\times \), or ULFM, up to 3\(\times \), and that it scales excellently as the number of MPI processes grows.

1 Introduction

HPC system performance scales by increasing the number of computing nodes and by increasing the processing and memory elements of each node. Furthermore, electronics continue to shrink, thus are more susceptible to interference, such as radiation upsets or voltage fluctuations. Those trends increase the probability of a failure happening, either due to component failure or due to transient soft errors affecting electronics. Large HPC applications run for hours or days and use most, if not all, the nodes of a supercomputer, thus are vulnerable to failures, often leading to process or node crashes. Reportedly, the mean time between a node failure on petascale systems has been measured to be 6.7 h [24], while worst-case projections [12] foresee that exascale systems may experience a failure even more frequently.

HPC applications often implement fault tolerance using checkpoints to restart execution, a method referred to as Checkpoint-Restart (CR). Applications periodically store checkpoints, e.g., every few iterations of an iterative computation, and when a failure occurs, execution aborts and restarts again to resume from the latest checkpoint. Most scalable HPC applications follow the Bulk Synchronous Parallel (BSP) paradigm, hence CR with global, backward, non-shrinking recovery [21], also known as global-restart naturally fits their execution. CR is straightforward to implement but requires re-deploying the whole application on a failure, re-spawning all processes on every node and re-initializing any application data structures. This method has significant overhead since a failure of few processes, even a single process failure, requires complete re-deployment, although most of the processes survived the failure.

By contrast, User-level Fault Mitigation (ULFM) [4] extends MPI with interfaces for handling failures at the application level without restarting execution. The programmer is required to use the ULFM extensions to detect a failure and repair communicators and either spawn new processes, for non-shrinking recovery, or continue execution with any survivor processes, for shrinking recovery. Although ULFM grants the programmer great flexibility to handle failures, it requires considerable effort to refactor the application for correctly and efficiently implementing recovery.

Alternatively, Reinit [11, 22] has been proposed as an easier-to-program approach, but equally capable of supporting global-restart recovery. Reinit extends MPI with a function call that sets a rollback point in the application. It transparently implements MPI recovery, by spawning new processes and mending the world communicator at the MPI runtime level. Thus, Reinit transparently ensures a consistent, initial MPI state akin to the state after MPI initialization. However, the existing implementation of Reinit [11] is hard to deploy, since it requires modifications to the job scheduler, and difficult to compare with ULFM, which only requires extensions to the MPI library. Notably, both Reinit and ULFM approaches assume the application has checkpointing in place to resume execution at the application level.

Although there has been a large bibliography [4, 5, 9, 11, 16, 17, 18, 21, 22, 23, 26] discussing the programming model and prototypes of those approaches, no study has presented an in-depth performance evaluation of them –most previous works either focus on individual aspects of each approach or perform limited scale experiments. In this paper, we present an extensive evaluation using HPC proxy applications to contrast these two leading global-restart recovery approaches. Specifically, our contributions are:
  • A new design and implementation of the Reinit approach, named Reinit\(^{++}\), using the latest Open MPI runtime. Our design and implementation supports recovery from either process or node failures, is high performance, and deploys easily by extending the Open MPI library. Notably, we present a precise definition of the failures it handles and the scope of this design and implementation.

  • An extensive evaluation of the performance of the possible recovery approaches (CR, Reinit\(^{++}\), ULFM) using three HPC proxy applications (CoMD, LULESH, HPCCG), and including file and in-memory checkpointing schemes.

  • New insight from the results of our evaluation which show that recovery under Reinit\(^{++}\) is up to 6\(\times \) faster than CR and up to 3\(\times \) faster than ULFM. Compared to CR, Reinit\(^{++}\) avoids the re-deployment overhead, while compared to UFLM, Reinit\(^{++}\) avoids interference during fault-free application execution and has less recovery overhead.

2 Overview

This section presents an overview of the state-of-the-art approaches for MPI fault tolerance. Specifically, it provides an overview of the recovery models for applications and briefly discusses ULFM and Reinit, which represent the state-of-the-art in MPI fault tolerance.

2.1 Recovery Models for MPI Applications

There are several models for fault tolerance depending on the requirements of the application. Specifically, if all MPI processes must recover after a failure, recovery is global; otherwise if some, but not all, of the MPI processes need to recover then recovery is deemed as local. Furthermore, applications can either recover by rolling back computation at an earlier point in time, defined as backward recovery, or, if they can continue computation without backtracking, recovery is deemed as forward. Moreover, if recovery restores the number of MPI processes to resume execution, it is defined as non-shrinking, whereas if execution continues with whatever number of processes surviving the failure, then recovery is characterized as shrinking. Global-restart implements global, backward, non-shrinking recovery which fits most HPC applications that follow a bulk-synchronous paradigm where MPI processes have interlocked dependencies, thus it is the focus of this work.

2.2 Existing Approaches for MPI Fault Tolerance

ULFM. One of the state-of-the-art approaches for fault tolerance in MPI is User-level Fault Mitigation (ULFM) [4]. ULFM extends MPI to enable failure detection at the application level and provide a set of primitives for handling recovery. Specifically, ULFM taps to the existing error handling interface of MPI to implement user-level fault notification. Regarding its extensions to the MPI interface, we elaborate on communicators since their extensions are a superset of other communication objects (windows, I/O). Following, ULFM extends MPI with a revoke operation ( Open image in new window ) to invalidate a communicator such that any subsequent operation on it raises an error. Also, it defines a shrink operation ( Open image in new window ) that creates a new communicator from an existing one after excluding any failed processes. Additionally, ULFM defines a collective agreement operation ( Open image in new window ) which achieves consensus on the group of failed processes in a communicator and on the value of the integer variable Open image in new window .

Based on those extensions, MPI programmers are expected to implement their own recovery strategy tailored to their applications. ULFM operations are general enough to implement any type of recovery discussed earlier. However, this generality comes at the cost of complexity. Programmers need to understand the intricate semantics of those operations to correctly and efficiently implement recovery and restructure, possibly significantly, the application for explicitly handling failures. Although ULFM provides examples that prescribe the implementation of global-restart, the programmer must embed this in the code and refactor the application to function with the expectation that communicators may change during execution due to shrinking and merging, which is not ideal.

Reinit. Reinit [11, 22] has been proposed as an alternative approach for implementing global-restart recovery, through a simpler interface compared to ULFM. The most recent implementation [11] of Reinit is limited in several aspects: (1) it requires modifying the job scheduler (SLURM), besides the MPI runtime, thus it is impractical to deploy and skews performance measurements due to crossing the interface between the job scheduler and the MPI runtime; (2) its implementation is not publicly available; (3) it bases on the MVAPICH2 MPI runtime, which makes comparisons with ULFM hard, since ULFM is implemented on the Open MPI runtime. Thus, we opt for a new design and implementation1, named Reinit\(^{++}\), which we present in detail in the next section.

3 Reinit\(^{++}\)

This section describes the programming interface of Reinit\(^{++}\), the assumptions for application deployment, process and node failure detection, and the recovery algorithm for global-restart. We also define the semantics of MPI recovery for the implementation of Reinit\(^{++}\) as well as discuss its specifics.

3.1 Design

Programming Interface of Reinit\(^{\varvec{++}}\) . Figure 1 presents the programming interface of Reinit\(^{++}\) in the C language, while Fig. 2 shows sample usage of it. There is a single function call, Open image in new window , for the programmer to call to define the point in code to rollback and resume execution after a failure. This function must be called after Open image in new window so ensure the MPI runtime has been initialized. Its arguments imitate the parameters of Open image in new window , adding a parameter for a pointer to a user-defined function. Reinit\(^{++}\) expects the programmer to encapsulate in this function the main computational loop of the application, which is restartable through checkpointing. Internally, Open image in new window passes the parameters Open image in new window and Open image in new window to this user-defined function, plus the parameter Open image in new window , which indicates the MPI state of the process as values from the enumeration type Open image in new window . Specifically, the value Open image in new window designates a new process executing for the first time, the value Open image in new window designates a survivor process that has entered the user-defined function after rolling back due to a failure, and the value Open image in new window designates that the process has failed and has been re-spawned to resume execution. Note that this state variable describes only the MPI state of Reinit\(^{++}\), thus has no semantics on the application state, such as whether to load a checkpoint or not.
Fig. 1.

The programming interface of Reinit\(^{++}\)

Fig. 2.

Sample usage of the interface of Reinit\(^{++}\)

Fig. 3.

Application deployment model

Application Deployment Model. Reinit\(^{++}\) assumes a logical, hierarchical topology of application deployment. Figure 3 shows a graphical representation of this deployment model. At the top level, there is a single root process that spawns and monitors daemon processes, one on each of the computing nodes reserved for the application. Daemons spawn and monitor MPI processes local to their nodes. The root communicates with daemons and keeps track of their liveness, while daemons track the liveness of their children MPI processes. Based on this execution and deployment model, Reinit\(^{++}\) performs fault detection, which we discuss next.

Fault Detection. Reinit\(^{++}\) targets fail-stop failures of either MPI processes or daemons. A daemon failure is deemed equivalent to a node failure. The causes for those failures may be transient faults or hard faults of hardware components.

In the design of Reinit\(^{++}\), the root manages the execution of the whole applications, so any recovery decisions are taken by it, hence it is the focal point for fault detection. Specifically, if an MPI process fails, its managing daemon is notified of the failure and forwards this notification to the root, without taking an action itself. If a daemon process fails, which means either the node failed or the daemon process itself, the root directly detects the failure and also assumes that the children MPI processes of that daemon are lost too. After detecting a fault the root process proceeds with recovery, which we introduce in the following section.

MPI Recovery. Reinit\(^{++}\) recovery for both MPI process and daemon failures is similar, except that on a daemon failure the root chooses a new host node to re-instate failed MPI processes, since a daemon failure proxies a node failure. For recovery, the root process broadcasts a reinit message to all daemons. Daemons receiving that message roll back survivor processes and re-spawn failed ones. After rolling back survivor MPI processes and spawning new ones, the semantics of MPI recovery are that only the world communicator is valid and any previous MPI state (other communicators, windows, etc.) has been discarded. This is similar to the MPI state available immediately after an application calls Open image in new window . Next, the application restores its state, discussed in the following section.

Application Recovery. Reinit\(^{++}\) assumes that applications are responsible for saving and restoring their state to resume execution. Hence, both survivor and re-spawned MPI processes should load a valid checkpoint after MPI recovery to restore application state and resume computation.

3.2 Implementation

We implement Reinit\(^{++}\) in the latest Open MPI runtime, version 4.0.0. The implementation supports recovery from both process and daemon (node) failures. This implementation does not presuppose any particular job scheduler, so it is compatible with any job scheduler the Open MPI runtime works with. Introducing briefly the Open MPI software architecture, it comprises of three frameworks of distinct functionality: (i) the OpenMPI MPI layer (OMPI), which implements the interface of the MPI specification used by the application developers; (ii) the OpenMPI Runtime Environment (ORTE), which implements runtime functions for application deployment, execution monitoring, and fault detection, and (iii) the Open Portability Access Layers (OPAL), which implements abstractions of OS interfaces, such as signal handling, process creation, etc.

Reinit\(^{++}\) extends OMPI to provide the function Open image in new window . It extends ORTE to propagate fault notifications from daemons to the root and to implement the mechanism of MPI recovery on detecting a fault. Also, Reinit\(^{++}\) extends OPAL to implement low-level process signaling for notifying survivor process to roll back. The following sections provide more details.

Application Deployment. Reinit\(^{++}\) requires the application to deploy using the default launcher of Open MPI, Open image in new window . Note that using the launcher Open image in new window is compatible with any job scheduler and even uses optimized deployment interfaces, if the scheduler provides any. Physical application deployment in Open MPI closely follows the logical model of the design of Reinit\(^{++}\). Specifically, Open MPI sets the root of the deployment at the process launching the Open image in new window , typically on a login node of HPC installations, which is deemed as the Head Node Process (HNP) in Open MPI terminology. Following, the root launches an ORTE daemon on each node allocated for the application. Daemons spawn the set of MPI processes in each node and monitor their execution. The root process communicates with each daemon over a channel of a reliable network transport and monitors the liveness of daemons through the existence of this channel.

Launching an application, the user specifies the number of MPI processes and optionally the number of nodes (or number of processes per node). To withstand process failures, this specification of deployment is sufficient, since Reinit\(^{++}\) re-spawns failed processes on their original node of deployment. However, for node failures, the user must over-provision the allocated process slots for re-spawning the set of MPI processes lost due to a failed node. To do so, the most straightforward way is to allocate more nodes than required for fault-free operation, up to the maximum number of node failures to withstand.

Fault Detection. In Open MPI, a daemon is the parent of the MPI processes on its node. If an MPI process crashes, its parent daemon is notified, by trapping the signal Open image in new window , in POSIX semantics. Implementing the fault detection requirements of Reinit\(^{++}\), a daemon relays the fault notification to the root process for taking action. Regarding node failures, the root directly detects them proxied through daemon failures. Specifically, the root has an open communication channel with each daemon over some reliable transport, e.g., TCP. If the connection over that communication channel breaks, the root process is notified of the failure and regards the daemon at fault, thus assuming all its children MPI process lost and its host node is unavailable. For both types of failures (process and node), the root process initiates MPI recovery.

MPI Recovery. Algorithm 1 shows in pseudocode the operation of the root process when handling a failure. On detecting a failure, the root process distinguishes whether it is a faulty daemon or MPI process. For a node failure, the root selects the least loaded node in the resource allocation, that is the node with the fewest occupied process slots, and sets this node’s daemon as the parent daemon for failed processes. For a process failure, the root selects the original parent daemon of the failed process to re-spawn that process. Next, the root process initiates recovery by broadcasting to all daemons a message with the Open image in new window command and the list of processes to spawn, along with their selected parent daemons. Following, when a daemon receives that message it signals its survivor, children MPI processes to roll back, and re-spawns any processes in the list that have this daemon as their parent. Algorithm 2 presents this procedure in pseudocode.

Regarding the asynchronous, signaling interface of Reinit\(^{++}\), Algorithm 3 illustrates the internals of the Reinit\(^{++}\) in pseudocode. When an MPI process executes Open image in new window , it installs a signal handler for the signal Open image in new window , which aliases Open image in new window in our implementation. Also, Open image in new window sets a non-local goto point using the POSIX function Open image in new window . The signal handler of Open image in new window simply calls Open image in new window to return execution of survivor processes to this goto point. Rolled back survivor processes discard any previous MPI state and block on a ORTE-level barrier. This barrier replicates the implicit barrier present in Open image in new window to synchronize with re-spawned processes joining the computation. After the barrier, survivor processes re-initialize the world communicator and call the function Open image in new window to resume computation. Re-spawned processes initialize the world communicator as part of the MPI initialization procedure of Open image in new window and go through Open image in new window to install the signal handler, set the goto point, and lastly call the user-defined function to resume computation.

Application Recovery. Application recovery includes the actions needed at the application-level to resume computation. Any additional MPI state besides the repaired world communicator, such as sub-communicators, must be re-created by the application’s MPI processes. Also, it is expected that each process loads the latest consistent checkpoint to continue computing. Checkpointing lays within the responsibility of the application developer. In the next section, we discuss the scope and implications of our implementation.

Discussion. In this implementation, the scope of fault tolerance is to support recovery from failures happening afterOpen image in new window has been called by all MPI processes. This is because Open image in new window must install signal handlers and set the roll-back point on all MPI processes. This is sufficient for a large coverage of failures since execution time is dominated by the main computational loop. In the case a failure happens before the call to Open image in new window , the application falls back to the default action of aborting execution. Nevertheless, the design of Reinit\(^{++}\) is not limited by this implementation choice. A possible approach instead of aborting, which we leave as future work, is to treat any MPI processes that have not called Open image in new window as if failed and re-execute them.

Furthermore, signaling Open image in new window for rolling back survivor MPI processes asynchronously interrupts execution. In our implementation, we render the MPI runtime library signal and roll-back safe by using masking to defer signal handling until a safe point, i.e., avoid interruption when locks are held or data structures are updating. Since application code is out of our control, Reinit\(^{++}\) requires the application developer to program the application as signal and roll-back safe. A possible enhancement is to provide an interface for installing cleanup handlers, proposed in earlier designs of Reinit [21], so that application and library developers can install routines to reset application-level state on recovery. Another approach is to make recovery synchronous, by extending the Reinit\(^{++}\) interface to include a function that tests whether a fault has been detected and trigger roll back. The developer may call this function at safe points during execution for recovery. We leave both those enhancements as future work, noting that the existing interface is sufficient for performing our evaluation.

4 Experimentation Setup

This section provides detailed information on the experimentation setup, the recovery approaches used for comparisons, the proxy applications and their configurations, and the measurement methodology.
Table 1.

Proxy applications and their configuration



No. ranks


-i4 -j2 -k2

16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024

-x 80 -y 40 -z 40 -N 20


64 64 64

16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024


-i 20 -s 48

8, 64, 512

Recovery Approaches. Experimentation includes the following recovery approaches:
  • CR, which implements the typical approach of immediately restarting an application after execution aborts due to a failure.

  • ULFM, by using its latest revision based on the Open MPI runtime v4.0.1 (4.0.1ulfm2.1rc1).

  • Reinit\(^{++}\), which is our own implementation of Reinit, based on OpenMPI runtime v4.0.0.

Emulating Failures. Failures are emulated through fault injection. We opt for random fault injection to emulate the occurrence of random faults, e.g., soft errors or failures of hardware components, that lead to a crash failure. Specifically, for process failures, we instrument applications so that at a random iteration of the main computational loop, a random MPI process suicides by raising the signal Open image in new window . The random selection of iteration and MPI process is the same for every recovery approach. For node failures, the method is similar, but instead of itself, the MPI process sends the signal Open image in new window to its parent daemon, thus kills the daemon and by extension all its children processes. In experimentation, we inject a single MPI process failure or a single node failure.

Applications. We experiment with three benchmark applications that represent different HPC domains: CoMD for molecular dynamics, HPCCG for iterative solvers, and LULESH for multi-physics computation. The motivation is to investigate global-restart recovery on a wide range of applications and evaluate any performance differences. Table 1 shows information on the proxy applications and scaling of their deployed number of ranks. Note LULESH requires a cube number of ranks, thus the trimmed down experimentation space. The deployment configuration has 16 ranks per node, so the smallest deployment comprises of one node while the largest one spans 64 nodes (1024 ranks). Application execute in weak scaling mode – for CoMD we show its input only 16 ranks and change it accordingly. We extend applications to implement global-restart with Reinit\(^{++}\) or ULFM, to store a checkpoint after every iteration of their main computational loop and load the latest checkpoint upon recovery.

Checkpointing. For evaluation purposes, we implement our own, simple checkpointing library that supports saving and loading application data using in-memory and file checkpoints. Table 2 summarizes checkpointing per recovery approach and failure type. In detail, we implement two types of checkpointing: file and memory. For file checkpointing, each MPI process stores a checkpoint to globally accessible permanent storage, which is the networked, parallel filesystem Lustre available in our cluster. For memory checkpointing, an MPI process stores a checkpoint both locally in its own memory and remotely to the memory of a buddy [33, 34] MPI process, which in our implementation is the (cyclically) next MPI process by rank. This memory checkpointing implementation is applicable only to single process failures since multiple process failures or a node failure can wipe out both local and buddy checkpoints for the failed MPI processes. CR necessarily uses file checkpointing since re-deploying the application requires permanent storage to retrieve checkpoints.
Table 2.

Checkpointing per recovery and failure














Statistical Evaluation. For each proxy application and configuration we perform 10 independent measurements. Each measurement counts the total execution time of the application breaking it down to time needed for writing checkpoints, time spent during MPI recovery, time reading a checkpoint after a failure, and the pure application time executing the computation. Any confidence intervals shown correspond to a 95% confidence level and are calculated based on the t-distribution to avoid assumptions on the sampled population’s distribution.

5 Evaluation

For the evaluation we compare CR, Reinit\(^{++}\) and ULFM for both process and node failures. Results provide insight on the performance of each of those recovery approaches implementing global-restart and reveal the reasons for their performance differences.
Fig. 4.

Total execution time breakdown recovering from a process failure

5.1 Comparing Total Execution Time on a Process Failure

Figure 4 shows average total execution time for process failures using file checkpointing for CR and memory checkpointing for Reinit\(^{++}\) and ULFM. The plot breaks down time to components of writing checkpoints, MPI recovery, and pure application time. Reading checkpoints occurs one-off after a failure and has negligible impact, in the order of tens of milliseconds, thus it is omitted.

The first observation is that Reinit\(^{++}\) scales excellently compared to both CR and ULFM, across all programs. CR has the worse performance, increasingly so with more ranks. The reason is the limited scaling of writing checkpoints to the networked filesystem. By contrast, ULFM and Reinit\(^{++}\) use memory checkpointing, spending minimal time writing checkpoints. Interestingly, ULFM scales worse than Reinit\(^{++}\); we believe that the reason is that it inflates pure application execution time, which we illustrate in the next section. Further, in the following sections, we remove checkpointing overhead from the analysis to highlight the performance differences of the different recovering approaches.
Fig. 5.

Scaling of pure application time

5.2 Comparing Pure Application Time Under Different Recovery Approaches

Figure 5 shows the pure application time, without including reading/writing checkpoints or MPI recovery. We observe that application time is on par for CR and Reinit\(^{++}\), and that all applications scale weakly well on up to 1024 ranks. CR and Reinit\(^{++}\) do not interfere with execution, thus they have no impact on application time, which is on par to the fault-free execution time of the proxy applications. However, in ULFM, application time grows significantly as the number of ranks increases. ULFM extends MPI with an always-on, periodic heartbeat mechanism [8] to detect failures and also modifies communication primitives for fault tolerant operation. Following from our measurements, those extensions noticeably increase the original application execution time. However, it is inconclusive whether this is a result of the tested prototype implementation or a systemic trade-off. Next, we compare the MPI recovery times among all the approaches.
Fig. 6.

Scaling of MPI recovery time recovering from a process failure

Fig. 7.

Scaling of MPI recovery time recovering from a node failure

5.3 Comparing MPI Recovery Time Recovering from a Process Failure

Though checkpointing saves application’s computation time, reducing MPI recovery time saves overhead from restarting. This overhead is increasingly important the larger the deployment and the higher the fault rate. In particular, Fig. 6 shows the scaling of time required for MPI recovery across all programs and recovery approaches, again removing any overhead for checkpointing to focus on the MPI recovery time. As expected, MPI recovery time depends only on the number of ranks, thus times are similar among different programs for the same recovery approach. Commenting on scaling, CR and Reinit\(^{++}\) scale excellently, requiring almost constant time for MPI recovery regardless the number of ranks. However, CR is about 6\(\times \) slower, requiring around 3 s to tear down execution and re-deploy the application, whereas Reinit\(^{++}\) requires about 0.5 s to propagate the fault, re-initialize survivor processes and re-spawn the failed process. ULFM has on par recovery time with Reinit\(^{++}\) up to 64 ranks, but then its time increases being up to 3\(\times \) slower than Reinit\(^{++}\) for 1024 ranks. ULFM requires multiple collective operations among all MPI processes to implement global-restart (shrink the faulty communicator, spawn a new process, merge it to a new communicator). By contrast, Reinit\(^{++}\) implements recovery at the MPI runtime layer requiring fewer operations and confining collective communication only between root and daemon processes.

5.4 Comparing MPI Recovery Time Recovering from a Node Failure

This comparison for a node failure includes only CR and Reinit\(^{++}\), since the prototype implementation of ULFM faced robustness issues (hanging or crashing) and did not produce measurements. Also, since both CR and Reinit\(^{++}\) use file checkpointing and do not interfere with pure application time, we present only results for MPI recovery times, shown in Fig. 7. Both CR and Reinit\(^{++}\) scale very well with almost constant times, as they do for a process failure. However, in absolute values, Reinit\(^{++}\) has a higher recovery time of about 1.5 s for a node failure compared to 0.5 s for a process failure. This is because recovering from a node failure requires extra work to select the least loaded node and spawn all the MPI processes of the failed node. Nevertheless, recovery with Reinit\(^{++}\) is still about 2\(\times \) faster than with CR.

6 Related Work

Checkpoint-Restart [1, 2, 10, 15, 20, 27, 29, 32] is the most common approach to recover an MPI application after a failure. CR requires substantial development effort to identify which data to checkpoint and may have significant overhead. Thus, many efforts attempt to make checkpointing easier to adopt and render it fast and storage efficient. We briefly discuss them here.

Hargrove and Duell [15] implement the system-level CR library Berkeley Lab Checkpoint/Restart (BLCR) library to automatically checkpoint applications by extending the Linux kernel. Bosilca et al. [6] integrate an uncoordinated, distributed checkpoint/roll-back system in the MPICH runtime to automatically support fault tolerance for node failures. Furthermore. Sankaran et al. [27] integrate Berkeley Lab BLCR kernel-level C/R to the LAM implementation of MPI. Adam et al. [2], SCR [25], and FTI [3] propose asynchronous, multi-level checkpointing techniques that significantly improve checkpointing performance. Shahzad et al. [28] provide an extensive interface that simplifies the implementation of application-level checkpointing and recovery. Advances in checkpointing are beneficial not only for CR but for other MPI fault tolerance approaches, such as ULFM and Reinit. Though making checkpointing faster resolves this bottleneck, the overhead of re-deploying the full application remains.

ULFM [4, 5] is the state-of-the-art MPI fault tolerance approach, pursued by the MPI Fault Tolerance Working Group. ULFM extends MPI with interfaces to shrink or revoke communicators, and fault-tolerant collective consensus. The application developer is responsible for implementing recovery using those operations, choosing the type of recovery best suited for its application. A collection of works on ULFM [9, 16, 17, 18, 21, 23, 26] has investigated the applicability of ULFM and benchmarked individual operations of it. Bosilca et al. [7, 8] and Katti et al. [19] propose efficient fault detection algorithms to integrate with ULFM. Teranishi et al. [31] use spare processes to replace failed processes for local recovery so as to accelerate recovery of ULFM. Even though ULFM gives flexibility to developers to implement any type of recover, it requires significant developer effort to refactor the application. Also, implementing ULFM has been identified by previous work [14, 31] to suffer from scalability issues, as our experimentation shows too. Fenix [13] provides a simplified abstraction layer atop ULFM to implement global-restart recovery. However, we choose to directly use ULFM since it already provides a straightforward, prescribed solution for implementing global-restart.

Reinit [11, 22] is an alternative solution that supports only global-restart recovery and provide an easy to use interface to developers. Previous designs and implementations of Reinit have limited applicability because they require modifying the job scheduler and its interface with the MPI runtime. We present Reinit\(^{++}\), a new design and implementation of Reinit using the latest Open MPI runtime and thoroughly evaluate it.

Lastly, Sultana et al. [30] propose MPI stages to reduce the overhead of global-restart recovery by checkpointing MPI state, so that rolling back does not have to re-create it. While this approach is interesting, it is still in proof-of-concept status. How to maintain consistent checkpoints of MPI state across all MPI processes, and doing so fast and efficiently, is still an open-problem.

7 Conclusion

We have presented Reinit\(^{++}\), a new design and implementation of the global-restart approach of Reinit. Reinit\(^{++}\) recovers from both process and node crash failures, by spawning new processes and mending the world communicator, requiring from the programmer only to provide a rollback point in execution and have checkpointing in place. Our extensive evaluation comparing with the state-of-the-art approaches Checkpoint-Restart (CR) and ULFM shows that Reinit\(^{++}\) scales excellently as the number of ranks grows, achieving almost constant recovery time, being up to 6\(\times \) faster than CR and up to 3\(\times \) faster than ULFM. For future work, we plan to expand Reinit for supporting more recovery strategies besides global-restart, including shrinking recovery and forward recovery strategies, to maintain its implementation, and expand the experimentation with more applications and larger deployments.




The authors would like to thank the anonymous referees for their valuable comments and helpful suggestions. This work was performed under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Energy by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory under contract DEAC52-07NA27344 (LLNL-CONF-800061).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Advanced Scientific ComputingLawrence Livermore National LaboratoryLivermoreUSA
  2. 2.EECS, UC MercedMercedUSA

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