System Tuning Settings for Linux

Adjusting Operating System tunables can improve large scale cluster performance, avoid bottlenecks, and prevent failures. The following sections are a collection of suggestions that have been gathered from various large scale HPC clusters. You should investigate and evaluate the validity of each suggestion before applying them to your cluster.

  1. Tuning Linux ulimits:

    The open file limits are important to high concurrence network services, such as xcatd. For a large cluster, it is required to increase the number of open file limit to avoid Too many open files error. The default value is 1024 in most OS distributions, to add below configuration in /etc/security/limits.conf to increase to 14096.

    *   soft    nofile     14096
    *   hard    nofile     14096
  2. Tuning Network kernel parameters:

    There might be hundreds of hosts in a big network for large cluster, tuning the network kernel parameters for optimum throughput and latency could improve the performance of distributed application. For example, adding below configuration in /etc/sysctl.conf to increase the buffer size and queue length of xCAT SSL listener service access point ( port 3001 ).

    net.core.rmem_max = 33554432
    net.core.wmem_max = 33554432
    net.core.rmem_default = 65536
    net.core.wmem_default = 65536
    net.core.somaxconn = 8192
    net.ipv4.tcp_rmem = 4096 33554432 33554432
    net.ipv4.tcp_wmem = 4096 33554432 33554432
    net.ipv4.tcp_mem= 33554432 33554432 33554432

    And if you encounter Neighbour table overflow error, it means there are two many ARP requests and the server cannot reply. Tune the ARP cache with below parameters.

    net.ipv4.conf.all.arp_filter      = 1
    net.ipv4.conf.all.rp_filter       = 1
    net.ipv4.neigh.default.gc_thresh1 = 30000
    net.ipv4.neigh.default.gc_thresh2 = 32000
    net.ipv4.neigh.default.gc_thresh3 = 32768
    net.ipv4.neigh.ib0.gc_stale_time  = 2000000

    For more tunable parameters, you can refer to Linux System Tuning Recommendations.