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[Support #SYM-524686]: ldm limitations/capabilities

Hi Joey,

> NCEP/NCO is in the process of evaluating the ldm for sending large
> quantities of data to NCDC for archival purposes.  Folks have
> recommended that I receive input from both of you as you have a great
> deal of experience in dealing with the ldm software.
> Do either of you have a feel on what the limits are for data processing
> via the ldm?  Is there a line in the sand that should not be crossed?
> Are there issues with large files as compared  to small files?  At what
> data extreme would you not feel comfortable using the ldm? What are the
> limiting factors? (Memory, hard drive space...etc)
> Thanks for you input.
> Joey

We've received this question a number of times.  We can tell you
some general things to consider and provide you with some examples.

Probably the most critical aspect of the LDM system is the size of
the product-queue and the amount of physical memory.  Ideally, you
should have enough physical memory to hold the product-queue in
memory all the time.  This means that the amount of physical
memory should be at least 30% greater than the size of the
product-queue (with more memory being better, of course).  The
minimum size of the product-queue can be determined by multiplying
the maximum rate at which data arrives by the minimum time that
data should be available in the product-queue (typically one

Note that some systems cannot support product-queues
larger than about 2 or 4 gigabytes because either the "off_t" or 
"size_t" data-type is a 32 bit integer, respectively.

Processing data-products on the same system that receives them
can slow things down considerably due to contention for the
CPU.  Consequently, the topology of an LDM network can greatly
affect performance.  One of the things that we recommend for
systems that do a lot of processing is to either have multiple
systems each receiving and processing a subset of the data or
have a single system that receives all data and multiple, other
systems that each process a subset of the data that they request
from the front-end system.

Each LDM child process that receives data executes an exclusive
write-lock on the product-queue in order to store the data.
Consequently, the more REQUEST entries that you have in the
LDM configuration-file, the more contention will exist for
writing into the product-queue.

Interestingly enough, this tendency towards poorer performance
with increased number of REQUEST entries is compensated, more or
less, by multiple TCP connections between the same hosts
having higher net throughput than a single TCP connection
(depending on the details of the TCP implementation).
Consequently, exactly how many REQUEST entries are too many depends
on your exact circumstances (see the examples, below).

And, of course, no LDM can receive data faster than the
usable bandwidth of its network connection.

Regarding the size of data-products: the LDM can handle products
ranging from 1 byte to about 2 gigabytes equally easily.  I would
set the size of a data-product based on some natural division
within the data-product itself rather than on some arbitrary
value (remember, each data-product must have a unique, textual
product-identifier).  For example, a natural division for 
NEXRAD Level-II radar data is a single, multi-parameter horizontal

And now for some examples.

Our quasi-operational system at the Unidata Program Center is
described at 


under the heading "IDD Relay Cluster idd.unidata.ucar.edu" (follow the
links for more information).  Currently, the two "accumulator" systems
receive about 3.3 gigabytes of data per hour in about 155,000
data-products split over 18 or 19 REQUEST entries.  The outbound
data-rate has been stress-tested to about 76 gigabytes per hour,
aggregate, over about 270 connections.

The LDM on host ultrazone.ucar.edu, which is part of the TIGGE
project <http://tigge.ucar.edu>, currently receives about 10 gigabytes
per hour on 71 connections.  The host is a SUN SPARC Sun-Fire-V890
with, I think, 18 GB of memory, a 14 GB product-queue and running 
SunOS 5.10.

If I may ask, how much data are you planning on transmitting, on
what sort of network, and with what sort of hardware budget?

Steve Emmerson

Ticket Details
Ticket ID: SYM-524686
Department: Support LDM
Priority: Normal
Status: Closed

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