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Lustre Best Practices

Lustre best practices

In some cases special care must be taken while using Lustre so as not to affect the performance of the filesystem for yourself and other users. The below Do's and Don'ts are provided as guidance.

  • Do

    • Use the lfs find
      • e.g.
        lfs find /scratch/username -type f -name "*.py"
    • Break up directories with many files into more directories if possible
    • Store small files and directories of small files on a single OST (Object Storage Target)
    • Limit the number of processes accessing a file. It may be better to read in a file once and then broadcast necessary information to other processes
    • Change your stripecount based on the filesize
    • Write many files to the node filesystem /tmp/scratch/: this is local storage on each node, and is not a part of the Lustre filesystem. Once your work is complete, the files can then be added to a tar archive and transferred to the /project/project_name for later use, or deleted from /tmp/scratch if no longer needed
    • Store data and run executables from /projects
      • Storing your conda environments in /projects can ensure that your data and executables are on the same filesystem, improving performance
  • Do Not

    • Use ls -l
    • Have a file accessed by multiple processes
    • In Python, avoid using os.walk or os.scandir
    • List files instead of using wildcards
      • e.g. don't use cp * dir/
      • If you need to tar/rm/cp a large number of files use xargs or similar:
        lfs find /scratch/username/old_data/ -t f -print0 | xargs -0 rm
    • Have many small files in a single directory
    • Store important files in /scratch
      • e.g. don't keep data, libraries or programs in /scratch/username, as /scratch directories are subject to automated purging based on the Data Retention Policy

Useful Lustre commands

  • Check your storage usage:
    • lfs quota -h -u <username> /scratch
  • See which MDT a directory is located on
    • lfs getstripe --mdt-index /scratch/<username>
    • This will return an index 0-2 indicating the MDT
  • Create a folder on a specific MDT (admin only)
    • lfs mkdir –i <mdt_index> /dir_path


Lustre provides a way to stripe files, this spreads them across multiple OSTs. Striping a large file being accessed by many processes can greatly improve the performace. See Lustre file striping for more details.

lfs setstripe <file> -c <count> -s <size>
* The stripecount determines how many OST the data is spread across * The stripe size is how large each of the stripes are in KB, MB, GB