stdchk: A Checkpoint Storage System for Desktop Grid Computing

Samer Al Kiswany, Matei Ripeanu, Sudharshan S. Vazhkudai, Abdullah Gharaibeh

Checkpointing is an indispensable technique to provide fault tolerance for long-running high-throughput applications like those running on desktop grids. This paper argues that a dedicated checkpoint storage system, optimized to operate in these environments, can offer multiple benefits: reduce the load on a traditional file system, offer high-performance through specialization, and, finally, optimize data management by taking into account checkpoint application semantics. Such a storage system can present a unifying abstraction to checkpoint operations, while hiding the fact that there are no dedicated resources to store the checkpoint data. We prototype stdchk, a checkpoint storage system that uses scavenged disk space from participating desktops to build a low-cost storage system, offering a traditional file system interface for easy integration with applications. This paper presents the stdchk architecture, key performance optimizations, support for incremental checkpointing, and increased data availability. Our evaluation confirms that the stdchk approach is viable in a desktop grid setting and offers a low cost storage system with desirable performance characteristics: high write throughput and reduced storage space and network effort to save checkpoint images.

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