NVIDIA Clara Parabricks Pipelines: Performance Tuning

The goal of Parabricks software is to get the highest performance for bioinformatics and genomic analysis. There are a few key system options that a user can tune to achieve maximum performance.

Using fast local SSD for files

Parabricks software operates with two kinds of files:

  • Input/Output files specified by user
  • Temporary files created during execution and deleted at the end

Best performance is achieved when both kind of files mentioned above are on a fast local SSD. However, it is possible that the Input/Output files are placed on a fast network storage. But it is highly recommended that for tools and pipelines that use temporary files, a fast local storage such as SSD is used.

Users can specify the --tmp-dir option to specify where the temporary files will be stored.


Empirically we have observed that you can run with up to 4 GPUs and still get good performance with lustre network for Input/Output files. If you plan to use more than 4 GPUs, we highly recommend using local SSDs for all kinds of files.

DGX Users

DGX comes with an SSD mounted generally on /raid. Please use that disk and use a directory on that disk as --tmp-dir. For initial testing you can even copy the Input files to this disk to eliminate variability in performance.

Specifying GPUs to use

You can choose the number of GPUs to run using the commandline option --num-gpus for certain tools and pipelines. To select specific GPUs, please also set the environment variable NVIDIA_VISIBLE_DEVICES

$ NVIDIA_VISIBLE_DEVICES="0,1" pbrun fq2bam --num-gpus 2 --ref Ref.fa --in-fq S1_1.fastq.gz --in-fq S1_2.fastq.gz