POV-Ray : Newsgroups : povray.unix : Slow parsing from networked drives Server Time: 14 Dec 2018 10:18:13 GMT
  Slow parsing from networked drives (Message 1 to 3 of 3)  
From: mcanance
Subject: Slow parsing from networked drives
Date: 10 Jun 2016 23:40:01
Message: <web.575b4eeec80ed84cc84d2f2a0@news.povray.org>
Friends, I'm trying to use a cluster at my university to speed up my renders.
The rendering parallelizes well (+SR and +ER in a job array), but for some
reason the parsing stage is just horribly slow when I'm using networked storage.
I believe the connection to the storage is over gigabit ethernet.
If I have povray read from the networked storage, it takes 4 minutes to parse
22M tokens, and 34 seconds to render.
If, however, I copy the file to /dev/shm first, it takes 8 seconds to parse. It
takes no more than a second to copy the file from the network drive to /dev/shm.
Rendering still takes 34 seconds.

Unfortunately, if I copy the files to /dev/shm and then abort the render, I
don't have an opportunity to delete the files and the temporary space fills up
and then the cluster crashes over a holiday weekend and I have to send an
apology to the sysadmin and bring him cookies. (He wasn't happy.)

What I'd like is for povray to read in the scene file from the network drive and
store it in memory before it starts parsing it.

I tried looking at the source, but I didn't see the culprit. I did see that
there's an IMemStream in fileinputoutput.h that looks like it would do the
trick, but I haven't been able to figure out how it works.

Has anyone else had experience with speeding up the parser?
Cheers,
Charles.


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From: Le Forgeron
Subject: Re: Slow parsing from networked drives
Date: 11 Jun 2016 07:25:18
Message: <575bbcde$1@news.povray.org>
Le 11/06/2016 01:36, mcanance a écrit :
> Friends, I'm trying to use a cluster at my university to speed up my renders.
> The rendering parallelizes well (+SR and +ER in a job array), but for some
> reason the parsing stage is just horribly slow when I'm using networked storage.
> I believe the connection to the storage is over gigabit ethernet.
> If I have povray read from the networked storage, it takes 4 minutes to parse
> 22M tokens, and 34 seconds to render.
> If, however, I copy the file to /dev/shm first, it takes 8 seconds to parse. It
> takes no more than a second to copy the file from the network drive to /dev/shm.
> Rendering still takes 34 seconds.
> 
> Unfortunately, if I copy the files to /dev/shm and then abort the render, I
> don't have an opportunity to delete the files and the temporary space fills up
> and then the cluster crashes over a holiday weekend and I have to send an
> apology to the sysadmin and bring him cookies. (He wasn't happy.)
> 
> What I'd like is for povray to read in the scene file from the network drive and
> store it in memory before it starts parsing it.
> 
> I tried looking at the source, but I didn't see the culprit. I did see that
> there's an IMemStream in fileinputoutput.h that looks like it would do the
> trick, but I haven't been able to figure out how it works.
> 
> Has anyone else had experience with speeding up the parser?
> Cheers,
> Charles.
> 
> 

The parsing is token by token, so it can be made of a lot of I/O, especially if the
network protocol is unbuffered:
instead of reading a whole segment of 1K (the kind of thing that happen when copying a
file) made of a single exchange (one request, one reply), the parsing asks for a few
charactes at a time (I even wonder if it is not one character each time). For 1K, 1024
requests,
1024 replies. GigaEthernet still have a latency between each request & reply.
It should be to the tuning of the OS to buffer the device/filesystem to optimise its
data exchange.
And this was the obvious... but there is a hidden cost too: if the filesystem is not
mounted with -noatime, each reading of a byte of a file is also a write to the
metadata of the file)

instead of /shm (used by other processes, hence the crash), why not having your own
ramdisk:
mkdir -p /media/nameme
mount -t tmpfs -o size=2048M tmpfs /media/nameme/

Of course, on your start of your render, if the ramdisk is already there, clean it
first (it is all yours, not like /shm) because it was an aborted previous session


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From: clipka
Subject: Re: Slow parsing from networked drives
Date: 11 Jun 2016 08:21:25
Message: <575bca05@news.povray.org>
Am 11.06.2016 um 01:36 schrieb mcanance:
> Friends, I'm trying to use a cluster at my university to speed up my renders.
> The rendering parallelizes well (+SR and +ER in a job array), but for some
> reason the parsing stage is just horribly slow when I'm using networked storage.
> I believe the connection to the storage is over gigabit ethernet.
> If I have povray read from the networked storage, it takes 4 minutes to parse
> 22M tokens, and 34 seconds to render.

The parser is an interpreter which reads directly from whatever files
your scene is comprised of, and unfortunately it does so over and over
again for any loops or macro invocations.

The worst performance hogs are macros invoked repeatedly from a
different file than where they're defined, as it will cause the
macro-containing file to be opened and closed over and over again.

The current plan is to clean up POV-Ray's internal architecture, then
throw away the interpreting parser and replace it with a LLVM-based
embedded compiler, which would only read each file once, compile it into
bytecode, maybe even storing it for later re-runs, and ultimately run as
native machine code using JIT-compilation. The scene description
language would also be redesigned along the way.

Obviously it'll take a while to get there.


A short-term solution would be to let the parser buffer macros in
memory-backed pseudo-files, but the parser is a crooked old thing that
we prefer to touch as little as possible. It's like a Jenga tower late
in the game. So nobody has explored this possibility far enough to
result in a viable implementation.

Your post may serve to trigger a re-evaluation of this route, but no
promise there.


> I tried looking at the source, but I didn't see the culprit. I did see that
> there's an IMemStream in fileinputoutput.h that looks like it would do the
> trick, but I haven't been able to figure out how it works.

At present, the IMemStream is just a hack to allow for running the
benchmark from the binary alone, without having to properly install
POV-Ray; to this end, the TTF files that are installed by POV-Ray are
also embedded in the binary itself, and the IMemStream allows the
TrueType geometric primitive code to access these embedded copies as if
they were proper files. That's all the IMemStream is currently capable of.


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