[Beowulf] building a new cluster

Robert G. Brown rgb at phy.duke.edu
Wed Sep 1 08:37:20 PDT 2004

On Wed, 1 Sep 2004, Alvin Oga wrote:

> 3-yr no questions asked servie contracts is tough ... must be good stuff
> they're pushing and the buyers know what they're getting

Well, with around 25 systems x 6 months of operation x near 100% duty
cycle, we have zero failures so far.  So who knows if it is really "no
questions" support?  So far they are "no failure systems", which works
even better for me.

> > Your cluster is at the boundary of what one "can" build using shelves
> > and towers units.  If you plan to ever expand, or if space is an issue,
> > or if you just want a neat look, you might go with rackmount systems, in
> > which case the whole cluster would probably fit into a single rack.
> always best to use rackmounts ... looks fancier :-)

...and often costs a couple of hundred extra dollars/node.  You pay for
the fancy looks.  Over 40 systems that can cost you 3-4 systems -- you
have to view it as spending nodes for the rackmount.

Although in a way I agree.  There are some attractive advantages in
rackmount that might well justify it in spite of the cost.  In any sort
of machine room context, rackmount is more or less a requirement.  If
strong growth (more nodes) is expected, it probably should be a
requirement.  Racks keep things neater and are easier in human terms to
install and maintain.  And sometimes even the fancier looks (as Alvin
says:-) can have value, if you are trying to "sell" your cluster to a
granting agency or officer on a site visit.

It's a bit more "professional", for all that nearly all the original
"professional" beowulf clusters were shelf units and towers...


> c ya
> alvin

Robert G. Brown	                       http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb/
Duke University Dept. of Physics, Box 90305
Durham, N.C. 27708-0305
Phone: 1-919-660-2567  Fax: 919-660-2525     email:rgb at phy.duke.edu

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