[Beowulf] longevity of 1U servers?

Mike Davis jmdavis1 at vcu.edu
Mon Feb 9 10:41:46 PST 2009

David Mathog wrote:.
> Some of us have to keep our hardware running a very long time, and I'm
> concerned that a lot of the 1U hardware isn't going to hold up in the
> long haul.  I have some 2U nodes which are still cranking along in their
> 7th year.  (Yes, it is well past time to replace them.)  In that
> interval around 5 80mm fans (case or power supply, of 80, these were all
> rated at 50000 hours MTBF) have been replaced, most only in the last few
> years, and 1 disk out of 20 failed (in the 7th year).   My limited
> experience with (older) 1U nodes was that the shrieky little fans were
> failure prone and didn't move enough air to keep the innards of the 1U
> case as cool as a 2U case.  Heat is bad for longevity.
> Realistically, how long should one expect current 1U servers to last?
> Thanks,
> David Mathog
> mathog at caltech.edu
> Manager, Sequence Analysis Facility, Biology Division, Caltech


I believe that you have more to worry about from the current quality 
control on Hard Drives than 1u vs. 2 u server. I have 32 1u servers that 
I purchased in 2003. I have 90 from 2004, 25 from 2005, 70 from 2007.

My failures include 1 processor/mb from the 2003 batch, and a few Hard 
Drives from the 2005 and 2007 batches.

Most of my machines are opterons, the 2003 models are Xeons.

Mike Davis			Technical Director
(804) 828-3885			Center for High Performance Computing
jmdavis1 at vcu.edu		Virginia Commonwealth University

"Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity."  George S. Patton

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