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Entry  27 Feb 2007, Piotr Zolnierczuk, Forum, event builder scalability 
    Reply  27 Feb 2007, Stefan Ritt, Forum, event builder scalability 
    Reply  27 Feb 2007, John M O'Donnell, Forum, event builder scalability 
       Reply  27 Feb 2007, Stefan Ritt, Forum, event builder scalability 
    Reply  02 Mar 2007, Kevin Lynch, Forum, event builder scalability 
       Reply  03 Mar 2007, Piotr Zolnierczuk, Forum, event builder scalability 
          Reply  03 Mar 2007, Stefan Ritt, Forum, event builder scalability 
Message ID: 359     Entry time: 03 Mar 2007     In reply to: 358
Author: Stefan Ritt 
Topic: Forum 
Subject: event builder scalability 
> It seems that there's no problem running MIDAS with event builder assembling
> data from ~10 front-ends. How about ~100? One possible solution is to have a
> multi-tiered architecture. 
> The reason I am asking is that we are in the process of designing an Ethernet
> based DAQ system with front-ends running on embedded computers (Linux/ARM
> CPU/Xilinix FPGA) and MIDAS is one of my options as a DAQ framework.
> I am open for advice/suggestions.

The event builder is a standalone application not part of the "midas core". It
receives data from N producers and combines the fragments into events based on
their serial number as a dedicated process. If it would become a bottleneck, it
can simply be redesigned and optimized. I made currently good experience with
multi-threaded applications running on multi-core CPUs. Implementing your
multi-tiered architecture as a multi-threaded event builder, where each of ten
threads receives data from ten front-ends, combines them and passes them to the
"collector thread" would make sense to me. Between the threads you can pass data
with many GB/sec, as compared to an ethernet-based architecture. I currently
implemented the rb_xxx functions inside midas.c which lets you pass data between
threads on a zero-copy basis.

Inside the core functions of midas there is no limitations whatsoever. All
counters etc. are 32-bit, so you can run 2^32 data consumers etc. You will first
hit the OS process limit. What I'm more concerned is your network bandwidth. If
you run 100 front-ends each with more than 1MB/sec, you would hit the 1GBit limit
of your network card. If you put more network interfaces, you will hit the disk
I/O limit which is around 100-200MB/sec even on larger RAID1 disk arrays (unless
you do data compression during event building). 

Another limit I see is the run transition. On each start/stop of a run, the
process which wants to start/stop the run has to contact all producers via a TCP
connection. Opening 100 TCP connection will take maybe 10-30 seconds, which is not
very convenient. A multi-threaded approach will help, but this is not (yet)
implemented, maybe you would have to do it yourself.

Another approach would be that you put the event building "in front of midas". All
your front-ends run a specific protocol outside of midas. They send their data to
a collecting process which acts as a single front-end to midas. So in the midas
framework you see only a single front-end, which gets it's data not from hardware,
but from 100 other nodes. This way you can optimize the protocol between your
front-end nodes and the collector process for your application. Run transitions
can be done through multicast UDP messages for example, which will even work with
1000 front-ends. But you have to implement that yourself.

I would start with the first approach: Taking the out-of-the box midas, see how
far I get. If you have access to a normal linux cluster, you can simply run ten
dummy front-ends on each of ten nodes, thus simulating 100 front-ends and see how
far you get. If the event builder is the bottle neck, do an optimization or
redesign. If the run transitions become your bottle neck, switch to method two. In
both ways you can utilize the downstream part of midas, like the logger, the
history system, etc. so you would still gain a lot compared to a design from scratch.

Best regards,

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