disadvantages of linux cluster - admin

Maurice Hilarius maurice at harddata.com
Wed Nov 6 16:58:05 PST 2002

With regards to your message at 10:50 AM 11/6/02, 
beowulf-request at beowulf.org. Where you stated:
>More realistically, we're finding that in an active LAN/cluster
>environment, two full time admins are a bit stretched when the total
>number of LAN seats plus cluster nodes reach up towards 400-500, over
>200 apiece, with all of the above (HHC) being the limiting factors.  One
>reason the Tyans we opted for for our last round of cluster nodes have
>been a problem is the anomalously high costs of installing them (see
>ongoing discussion of their quirky BIOS) and their relatively high rate
>of hardware failure.  We're now considering going back to Intel Xeon
>duals and are evaluating a loaner -- they are a bit more expensive but
>if they reduce human costs they'll be worth it.
>    rgb
>Robert G. Brown                        http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb/

The thing is Robert, the Tyan are very reliable, IF you get proper BIOS 
from Tyan, IF you get cases with decent power, and proper airflow and 
quality of components.
The Tyan DOA rate is high, but once in service are the same or lower than 
most Intel boards, so I can't buy into the reliability claim.
Also, the way some people throw around how "Athlons use a lot of power and 
make heat" or "Tyans use a lot of power" are simply propagating urban 
legends (a legend that Intel does everything it can to fuel).

Fact: AMD design max power per CPU is around 45W

Fact #2: Intel P4 at 2GHz has a design consumption peak of 76W. Of course 
getting the P4 to actually use that much is sometimes elusive as they speed 
step the moment you approach that.
Very safe, if all you wanted as 1GHz CPUs!

Fact #3: A XEON P4 2.2GHz eats up 87W of power.

These have all been tested here, by the simple method of testing with a 
digital Ammeter, adding up the consumption on all lines, when the CPUs were 
at 99% while generating Distributed Net keys.

A dual XEON box makes almost DOUBLE the heat of a dual AthlonMP.

As for admin time, it has little to do with hardware, once you get properly 
built boxes.
Sometimes you might have to pay a little more up front for that, but if you 
don't you pay it later.
Lastly, the power consumption translates into costs that often outstrip the 
machine costs in a pretty short time period.

Power costs and cooling costs will generally exceed machine costs within a 
year. And that is not even counting the capital investment in the cooling 
equipment, or the nearly doubled initial investment cost for a properly 
built dual XEON machine.

With our best regards,

Maurice W. Hilarius       Telephone: 01-780-456-9771
Hard Data Ltd.               FAX:       01-780-456-9772
11060 - 166 Avenue        mailto:maurice at harddata.com
Edmonton, AB, Canada      http://www.harddata.com/
    T5X 1Y3

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