[Beowulf] Redmond is at it, again

Samuelson, Frank* FWS4 at CDRH.FDA.GOV
Thu Jun 3 07:04:16 PDT 2004

The below email hits the nail on the head.  How many nodes
I connect to my cluster is none of the cluster software
makers damn business.  It's not as if I'm going to call
software support when node #37 doesn't boot from the
server, but all the others do.  Obviously that's a hardware 
issue, and I'll fix it myself, or just forget it all together.
Why do I need to pay support for node #37?

Along the lines of the 
"[Beowulf] how useful is bproc, and what does Scyld cost?"
thread that's going on now,
does anyone know of a bproc cluster software company that doesn't 
charge by cpu?

-----Original Message-----
From: John Burton [mailto:j.c.burton at gats-inc.com] 
Sent: Wednesday, June 02, 2004 10:41 AM
To: Laurence Liew
Cc: Beowulf at beowulf.org
Subject: Re: [Beowulf] Redmond is at it, again


Just to add some mud to the waters...

The way we view our (small) cluster is a single machine as represented 
by the server node. It doesn't matter how many (up to a point) compute 
nodes we have. Updates and patches are stored on the server node and 
migrated to the compute nodes.  What we want from our O/S vendor is 1 
(one) copy of the patch / update. Since we're handling the systems 
administration, installation, maintenance, etc, ourselves, what are we 
getting for our ($100 per node) money?

Say we double the number of compute nodes from 100 to 200. We build or 
buy the individual nodes. We build, wire, populate, etc the racks. We 
set it up. We turn it on. We configure it. We administer it. Now, the 
question I have is what am I getting for the additional $10,000 ($100 / 
node x 100 nodes) I'm paying the O/S vendor? The "support" I want from 
the vendor is still the same as before I added the 100 nodes. I want to 
be kept aware of applicable updates and patches (server node *only* 
since I keep the compute  nodes up to date based on what patches / 
updates have been applied to the server). My "support" questions are 
most often answered in forums like Beowulf.org and when they aren't it 
is typically because its about a specific "value-added" software module. 
If I want value-added software, I should be able to buy it and buy 
support for it. So, the question remains, what am I getting for my money?


John Burton, Ph.D.
Principal Associate              GATS, Inc.  
j.c.burton at gats-inc.com          11864 Canon Blvd - Suite 101
jcb at visi.net (personal)          Newport News, VA 23606
(757) 873-5920 (voice)           (757) 873-5924 (fax)

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