need advice on small cluster
tpali at gwdg.de
Mon Nov 18 05:00:28 PST 2002
I am reading, these two lists (beowulf and gromacs) for while now and -
seeing so many experts here - I hope I can get some help in setting up a
small cluster. It will initially have 4-5 nodes (and will not grow above
8-12 nodes any soon). Primary usage will be gromacs and possibly gaussian
and charm. It should also allow using the nodes as independent
workstations, i.e. cluster of workstations (COW), Therefore I need HD and
graphic card in the nodes and a CPU switch (because the rack will be
placed in a remote part of the building). Since I will have jobs mainly
running on a single node (or processor) and only occasionally multinode
jobs, I dropped GBit ethernet (I can add later if need dictates). Here is
the setup so far (after negotiation with a local supplier):
** Board/House: MSI K7D Master MS-6501 (dual)
*** seems to be better (higher power, better cooling and diagnostic leds):
Supermicro SC8221-400RC (see
*** alternative (weaker): Mapower MP-P26EX32-1 (the IDE disk version, 19",
2U) ( see http://www.mapower.de/produkte.asp): 1.44 MB FDD, S3 3D/2X AGP
** Processor: 2 x Athlon MP 2000+ with CoolerMaster DP-56j31C
** RAM: 512 MB DDR266 SDRAM (non-registered)
** HD: 60GB/5400
** network interface card (fast): 3Com 3C905 10/100 (M-via supports it:
** ethernet fast switch:
*** 3Com 3C16981 12-port 10/100 switch; this is commonly called 3Com
SupersStack 3 switch 3300 (nI don't see anymore on 3com's web page, but
*** alternative?: 3Com 3C16464C-ME
- about one third the price of the 3C16981, but: no management, VLAN and
SNMP; and fixed store-and-forward mode.
*** alternative?: DLink DES 1016+ 16-port 10/100 switch (less than one 6th
the price of the 3C16981!!
- forwarding mode not clear to me
** power supply: APC 1400 VA RackMount UPS
** rack: CONTEG 42U, 8 shelves
** Keyboard-Video-Mouse switch extender: Master View ProOSD 8PC+console
extender (upto 150m) (185 eHUF)
My, somewhat redundant, specific questions:
What are the important parameters for a switch for the above purpose?
Is the 3Com 3C905/3C16981 NIC/switch combo a good choice?
The 3Com Switch 3300 seems to have only store-and-forward forwarding mode
(i.e. no on-the-fly or direct forward): is this critical? I read that
on-the-fly (or direct) forwarding results in lower latency (on the cost of
leaving error checking to other MAC devices in the chain).
Does "management" slow down node-node communication speeds or increases
Any comment (weak points in the setup, suggestions for alternatives, etc.)
would be greatly appreciated.
Many thannks in advance,
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