Applying Big Data Paradigms to a Large Scale Scientific Workflow: Lessons Learned and Future Directions Articles uri icon

publication date

  • April 2018

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0167-739X

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1872-7115


  • The increasing amounts of data related to the execution of scientific workflows has raised awareness of their shift towards parallel data-intensive problems. In this paper, we deliver our experience combining the traditional high-performance computing and grid-based approaches with Big Data analytics paradigms, in the context of scientific ensemble workflows. Our goal was to assess and discuss the suitability of such data-oriented mechanisms for production-ready workflows, especially in terms of scalability. We focused on two key elements in the Big Data ecosystem: the data-centric programming model, and the underlying infrastructure that integrates storage and computation in each node. We experimented with a representative MPI-based iterative workflow from the hydrology domain, EnKF-HGS, which we re-implemented using the Spark data analysis framework. We conducted experiments on a local cluster, a private cloud running OpenNebula, and the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (AmazonEC2). The results we obtained were analysed to synthesize the lessons we learned from this experience, while discussing promising directions for further research.


  • scientific workflows; big data; cloud computing; apache spark; hydrology