[Beowulf] Altix vs. Beowulf

Ed Hill ed at eh3.com
Sat Apr 16 09:03:51 PDT 2005

On Sat, 2005-04-16 at 10:19 +0100, Guy Coates wrote:
> On Fri, 15 Apr 2005, Peng Li wrote:
> >
> > Any experience with SGI Altix? Does Altix have real advantages over
> > Beowulf? Anyone has any recommendations for good cluster vendors?
> The altix is a very nice machine. We've got several, and we have been
> very happy with them. We've also got a beowulf cluster.  They get used for
> different things. The altix gets used for the codes which just won't fit
> on the beowulf (large memory codes in our case), and the beowulf does
> everything else.

I'd like to second Guy's assessment of the Altixes.

Our group owns a small one and I routinely use much larger ones.
They're fantastic for large memory problems, easy to develop on [they're
Linux, so the tool chain is identical to my laptop ;-)], relatively easy
to maintain, and pricey for the initial purchase.

And one certainly can question the longer-term viability of a chip
(Itanium) that costs so much to develop and sells so poorly.  But then
the Altixes are running Linux so its trivial to port your application(s)
elsewhere should that chip vanish in the coming years.


Edward H. Hill III, PhD
office:  MIT Dept. of EAPS;  Rm 54-1424;  77 Massachusetts Ave.
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