NEXTGenIO: a step towards Exascale

Author: Mirren White
Posted: 27 May 2016 | 10:15


The NEXTGenIO project represents a step along the Exascale pathway.

We are developing a prototype platform that utilises the latest developments in memory technology, and that will offer vastly improved I/O performance compared to current HPC machines. The system will be developed end-to-end by the project partners – from inception through to delivery, with a full suite of systemware that can make use of the new technologies.

The challenge that NEXTGenIO seeks to address is that of the bottleneck that occurs when moving data between memory and persistent storage. The memory-storage performance gap means that compute resources are wasted while waiting for data to be written to or read from disk, which limits the overall performance of applications. Were this bottleneck to be widened, or removed entirely, performance could be significantly increased.

NEXTGenIO is tackling this issue on a number of fronts:

  • Using a transformative new memory technology, Intel’s 3D XPoint™, to bridge the gap between DRAM memory and persistent storage to allow for improved I/O performance
  • Adding support for NVRAM the popular performance analysis tools Vampir and Allinea MAP
  • Modelling the workloads and the I/O requirements of entire data centres to better understand the impact of NVRAM and system configurations choices on a large scale
  • Developing a complete system software stack that exploits NVRAM and delivers improved I/O performance to applications.

We are now heading into the second half of this first year in the project, and NEXTGenIO has proved to be every bit as exciting and challenging as we expected. The next six months will see considerable amounts of work to push the NEXTGenIO architecture into its implementation phase and progress the development of the supporting ecosystem.

In the next six months, NEXTGenIO will also be represented at a number of events, such as ISC High Performance 2016 and SC16. If you are attending any of those occasions, please keep an eye out for our presentations and come speak to us. We are planning on publishing the second edition of the project newsletter in time for SC16; that issue will take a look back at the first complete year of NEXTGenIO. But until then, there’s a lot of work still to be done.

If you want to keep up-to-date with our latest developments, please visit our website for more information and our latest list of publications:


Mirren White, EPCC

You can also read this story on our Medium account.