Parallel processing offers a clear advantage over serial processing when it comes to network throughput. But what happens when you get to storage?
This article in Byte & Switch lays out the advantages of parallel storage. At the moment, the technology is reserved for high-end applications, but the IT industry being what it is, there is every possibility that it will trickle down to more common environments before too long.
Take the experience of engineering software firm Ansys Inc. The company has automotive clients running clusters of up to 96 CPUs, with I/O representing about 10 to 15 percent of their turnaround time. By supporting a parallel file system, the company can cut simulation times in half, which translates into many hours saved off the development schedule.
Backers of parallel storage are betting that the current Parallel NFS technique will be incorporated under the IETF's NDS 4.1 standard, due for ratification in 2009. Sun and IBM are already using it in their Solaris and AIX systems.