Standard open source tools for file transfer, archival, and compression do not typically take Lustre striping characteristics into account. Since striping cannot be changed after a file is created, the files resulting from such operations are often stuck with default striping, which can be suboptimal for later access to those files. A large default stripe count can cause operations on small files to impact the performance of the file system as a whole due to excess disk activity. A small default stripe count penalizes large files, which will only be able to achieve a fraction of the performance possible due to I/O bottlenecks.
Retools is a set of modifications to the commonly used open source utilities bzip2, gzip, rsync, and tar that automatically selects the Lustre stripe count for created and/or extracted files according to the sizes of the files involved. By striping large files over a higher number of physical disks and small files over a lower number, aggregate I/O bandwidth for large files is maximized and the impact to the file system due to small files is minimized. These tools support the typical workflow in high performance computing environments where users compress large files and/or aggregate multiple small files into a single archive during remote transfers. Once uncompressed/unarchived into their original form, these files will be optimally striped for subsequent operations.