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Community Blog Optimize Hybrid Cloud Data Access Based on ACK Fluid (3): Accelerate Read Access to Third-party Storage

Optimize Hybrid Cloud Data Access Based on ACK Fluid (3): Accelerate Read Access to Third-party Storage

Part 3 of this 5-part series focuses on accelerating access to third-party storage, achieving better performance, lower costs, and reducing dependence on the stability of the leased line.

By Yang Che

In the previous article, Build Bridges Between Elastic Computing Instances and Third-party Storage, I introduced how to use ACK Fluid to connect to third-party distributed storage. This allows you to access and transmit data between Elastic Container Instances (ECI) and Elastic Compute Service (ECS) and the on-premises storage system. This effectively solves the connectivity issue in the first phase of cloud migration.

In a production environment, when cloud computing accessing the on-premises storage system becomes a regular practice, performance, cost, and stability need to be considered. For example, what are the annual costs of accessing offline data in the cloud? Is there a significant difference in the time consumed by cloud computing tasks compared to tasks in the original IDC (Internet Data Center) environment? And how can the loss of cloud computing tasks be minimized if there is a problem with the leased line?

This article will focus on accelerating access to third-party storage, achieving better performance, lower costs, and reducing dependence on the stability of the leased line.

1

Overview

Even though cloud computing can access the enterprise's offline storage using the standardized PV (Persistent Volume) protocol of Kubernetes, it still faces challenges and requirements in terms of performance and cost:

Limited data access bandwidth and high latency: Accessing on-premises storage from cloud computing results in high latency and limited bandwidth, leading to time-consuming high-performance computing and low utilization of computing resources.

Reading redundant data leads to high network costs: During hyperparameter tuning of deep learning models and automatic parameter tuning of deep learning tasks, the same data is repeatedly accessed. However, the native scheduler of Kubernetes cannot determine the data cache status, resulting in poor application scheduling and the inability to reuse the cache. As a result, repeated data retrieval increases Internet and leased line fees.

Offline distributed storage becomes a bottleneck for concurrent data access and faces performance and stability challenges: When large-scale computing power concurrently accesses offline storage and the I/O pressure of deep learning training increases, offline distributed storage easily becomes a performance bottleneck. This affects computing tasks and may even cause the entire computing cluster to fail.

Strongly affected by network instability: If the network between the public cloud and the data center is unstable, it can result in data synchronization errors and unavailability of applications.

Data security requirements: Metadata and data need to be protected and cannot be persistently stored on disks.

ACK Fluid provides a general acceleration capability for PV volumes based on JindoRuntime. It supports third-party storage that meets the requirements of PVCs (Persistent Volume Claims) and achieves data access acceleration through a distributed cache in a simple, fast, and secure manner. The following benefits are provided:

1.  Zero adaptation cost: You only need to implement the third-party storage for the PVC in the CSI (Container Storage Interface) protocol and can immediately use it without additional development.

2.  Significantly improved data access performance to enhance engineering efficiency:

  • By applying access-based and policy-based data preheating, the performance of accessing on-premises data is equivalent to accessing data in cloud computing clusters.
  • Elastic data access bandwidth can handle high concurrency. The data access throughput can be increased to hundreds of Gigabits per second or scaled down to 0, achieving a dynamic balance between low cost and high throughput.
  • Data cache affinity-aware scheduling avoids cross-network data access and reduces latency.

3.  Avoiding repeated reading of hot data and saving network costs: The distributed cache is used to persistently store hot data in the cloud, reducing data reading and network traffic.

4.  Data-centric automated operation and maintenance (O&M) enables efficient data access and improves O&M efficiency: It includes automatic and scheduled data cache preheating to avoid repeated data retrieval. It also supports data cache scale-out, scale-in, and cleaning to implement automatic data cache management.

5.  Using a distributed memory cache to avoid metadata and data persistence on disks for enhanced security: For users with data security concerns, ACK Fluid provides a distributed memory cache. It not only offers good performance but also alleviates worries about data persistence on disks.

Summary: ACK Fluid provides benefits such as out-of-the-box functionality, high performance, low cost, automation, and no data persistence for cloud computing to access third-party storage PVCs.

Demo

1. Prerequisites

• An ACK Pro cluster is created. The cluster version is 1.18 or later. For more information, see Create an ACK Pro cluster [1].

• Cloud-native AI suite is installed, and ack-fluid components are deployed. Important: If you have open source Fluid installed, uninstall it and then deploy ack-fluid components.

• If the cloud-native AI suite is not installed, enable Fluid Data Acceleration during installation. For more information, see Install the cloud-native AI suite [2].

• If the cloud-native AI suite is installed, deploy the ack-fluid on the Cloud-native AI Suite page in the Container Service console.

• A kubectl client is connected to the cluster. For more information, see Use kubectl to connect to a cluster [3].

• You have created PV volumes and PVC volume claims that need to access the storage system. In the Kubernetes environment, different storage systems have different storage volume creation methods. To ensure stable connections between the storage systems and the Kubernetes clusters, make preparations according to the official documentation of the corresponding storage system.

Note: For hybrid cloud scenarios, we recommend configuring the data access mode as read-only for better data security and performance.

2. Query Information About PV Volumes and PVC Volume Claims

Run the following command to query the information about PV and PVC volume claims in Kubernetes:

$ kubectl get pvc,pv

Expected output:

NAME                                          STATUS   VOLUME                          CAPACITY   ACCESS MODES   STORAGECLASS   AGE
persistentvolumeclaim/demo-pvc                Bound    demo-pv                         5Gi        ROX                           19h

NAME                                             CAPACITY   ACCESS MODES   RECLAIM POLICY   STATUS   CLAIM                           STORAGECLASS   REASON   AGE
persistentvolume/demo-pv                         30Gi       ROX            Retain           Bound    default/demo-pvc                                        19h

The PV volume demo-pv has a capacity of 30 GB and supports RWX access mode. The PV volume has been bound to a volume claim whose PVC name is demo-pvc. Both can be used normally.

3. Create a Dataset and a JindoRuntime

1) Create a dataset.yaml file. The following Yaml file contains two Fluid resource objects to be created, Dataset and JindoRuntime.

Dataset: describes the claim information of the PVC volume to be mounted.

JindoRuntime: the configurations of the JindoFS distributed cache system to be started, including the number of worker component replicas and the maximum available cache capacity for each worker component.

apiVersion: data.fluid.io/v1alpha1
kind: Dataset
metadata:
  name: pv-demo-dataset
spec:
  mounts:
    - mountPoint: pvc://demo-pvc
      name: data
      path: /
  accessModes:
    - ReadOnlyMany
---
apiVersion: data.fluid.io/v1alpha1
kind: JindoRuntime
metadata:
  name: pv-demo-dataset
spec:
  replicas: 2
  tieredstore:
    levels:
      - mediumtype: MEM
        path: /dev/shm
        quota: 10Gi
        high: "0.9"
        low: "0.8"

The following table describes the object parameters in the configuration file.

Parameter Description
mountPoint The information about the data source to be mounted. If you want to mount a PVC as a data source, you can use the pvc: //<pvc_name>/<path> format to mount the PVC. The field parsing is as follows:
pvc name: the name of the PVC volume to be mounted. The PVC must be in the same namespace as the Dataset resource to be created.
path: specifies the subdirectory under the volume to be mounted. Make sure that the subpath exists. Otherwise, the volume fails to be mounted.
replicas The number of workers for the JindoFS cache system. You can modify the number based on your requirements.
mediumtype The type of cache. Only HDD (Mechanical Hard Disk Drive), SSD (Solid State Drive), and MEM (Memory) are supported.
In AI training scenarios, we recommend that you use MEM. When MEM is used, the cache data storage directory specified by path needs to be set as the memory file system. For example, set a temporary mount directory and mount the directory as the Tmpfs file system.
path The directory used by JindoFS workers to cache data. For optimal data access performance, it is recommended to use /dev/shm or other paths where the memory file system is mounted.
quota The maximum cache size that each worker can use. You can modify the number based on your requirements.

2) Run the following commands to create the Dataset and JindoRuntime resource objects

$ kubectl create -f dataset.yaml

3) Run the following command to check the deployment of Dataset

$ kubectl get dataset pv-demo-dataset

Expected output: The image pulling process is required when JindoFS is started for the first time. Due to factors such as network environment, it may take 2 to 3 minutes. If the Dataset is in the Bound state, the JindoFS cache system is started in the cluster. Application pods can access the data defined in the Dataset.

4. Create a DataLoad to Perform Cache Preheating

The data access efficiency of application pods may be low because the first access cannot hit the data cache. Fluid provides the DataLoad cache preheating operation to improve the efficiency of the first data access.

1) Create a dataload.yaml file. Sample code:

apiVersion: data.fluid.io/v1alpha1
kind: DataLoad
metadata:
  name: dataset-warmup
spec:
  dataset:
    name: pv-demo-dataset
    namespace: default
  loadMetadata: true
  target:
    - path: /
      replicas: 1

The following table describes the object parameters.

Parameter Description
spec.dataset.name The name of the Dataset object to be preheated.
spec.dataset.namespace The namespace to which the Dataset object belongs. The namespace must be the same as the namespace of the DataLoad object.
spec.loadMetadata Specifies whether to synchronize metadata before preheating. This parameter must be set to true for JindoRuntime.
spec.target[*].path The path or file to be preheated. The path must be a relative path of the mount point specified in the Dataset object. For example, if the data source mounted to the Dataset is pvc://my-pvc/mydata, setting the path to /test will preheat the /mydata/test directory under my-pvc's corresponding storage system.
spec.target[*].replicas The number of worker pods created to cache the preheated path or file.

2) Run the following command to create a DataLoad object

$ kubectl create -f dataload.yaml

3) Run the following command to check the DataLoad status

$ kubectl get dataload dataset-warmup

Expected output:

NAME             DATASET           PHASE      AGE   DURATION
dataset-warmup   pv-demo-dataset   Complete   62s   12s

4) Run the following command to check the data cache status

$ kubectl get dataset

Expected output:

NAME              UFS TOTAL SIZE   CACHED     CACHE CAPACITY   CACHED PERCENTAGE   PHASE   AGE
pv-demo-dataset   10.96GiB         10.96GiB   20.00GiB         100.0%              Bound   3m13s

After the DataLoad cache preheating is performed, the cached data volume of the dataset has been updated to the size of the entire dataset, which means that the entire dataset has been cached, and the cached percentage is 100.0%.

5. Create an Application Container to Access Data in the PV Volume

1) Use the following YAML to create a pod.yaml file, and modify the claimName in the YAML file to be the same as the name of the Dataset created in Step 2.

apiVersion: v1
kind: Pod
metadata:
  name: nginx
spec:
  containers:
    - name: nginx
      image: nginx
      command:
      - "bash"
      - "-c"
      - "sleep inf"
      volumeMounts:
        - mountPath: /data
          name: data-vol
  volumes:
    - name: data-vol
      persistentVolumeClaim:
        claimName: pv-demo-dataset # The name must be the same as the Dataset. 

2) Run the following command to create an application pod.

$ kubectl create -f pod.yaml

3) Run the following command to log on to the pod to access data.

$ kubectl exec -it nginx bash

Expected output:

# In the Nginx Pod, there is a file named demofile in the /data directory, which is 11 GB in size. 
total 11G
-rw-r----- 1 root root 11G Jul 28  2023 demofile

# Run the cat /data/demofile > /dev/null command to read the demofile file and write the file to /dev/null, which takes 11.004 seconds. 
$ time cat /data/demofile > /dev/null
real    0m11.004s
user    0m0.065s
sys     0m3.089s

Because all data in the dataset has been cached in the distributed cache system, the data will be read from the cache instead of from the remote storage system, thus reducing the network transmission and improving the data access efficiency.

Reference

[1] Create an ACK Pro cluster
https://www.alibabacloud.com/help/en/ack/ack-managed-and-ack-dedicated/user-guide/create-an-ack-managed-cluster-2#task-skz-qwk-qfb
[2] Install the cloud-native AI suite
https://www.alibabacloud.com/help/en/ack/cloud-native-ai-suite/user-guide/deploy-the-cloud-native-ai-suite#task-2038811
[3] Use kubectl to connect to a cluster
https://www.alibabacloud.com/help/en/ack/ack-managed-and-ack-dedicated/user-guide/obtain-the-kubeconfig-file-of-a-cluster-and-use-kubectl-to-connect-to-the-cluster#task-ubf-lhg-vdb

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