[Beowulf] Clustering VPS servers
dag at sonsorol.org
Thu Mar 21 05:06:06 PDT 2013
Jonathan Aquilina wrote:
> It’s not that I need to cluster these vps’s I was just wondering if it
> was possible. What puts me off about amazon is pricing. It seems a bit
> pricy so to speak.
MIT StarCluster (the open source stack that builds Grid Engine clusters
on Amazon mentioned elsewhere in this thread) is able to leverage the
AWS Spot Market and the potential savings off of the hourly EC2 rate is
pretty enormous. Via Spot you can run servers for pennies an hour that
traditionally sell for dollars-per-hour on the "normal" EC2 on-demand
service. It would be very hard to beat that price on an internal
infrastructure if one was honest about the fully loaded facility, energy
and staffing costs.
I ran 30-40 of Amazon's biggest and newest compute cluster instance
types + 16 of their GPU nodes on the Spot Market and a few persistent
license and control servers to manage the workload and I think our
hourly cost was less than $30/hour. We only paid that rate for the
duration of the simulation then tore everything down. Totally worth it
and we ran at a scale that would not have been possible internally.
I was originally leery of the Spot Market thinking that it would be too
disruptive to have nodes potentially yanked from under me but it turns
out the pricing history is easily accessible and you can see that over
time the prices are usually super stable. I've been able to pay pennies
for decent sized servers and run them for weeks at a time.
However there are occasionally spikes and it's interesting to see how
the arbitrage/bidding strategies work. I've been doing some
low-importance analysis on a c1.medium server recently and I ran for a
few days at just a few pennies an hour before my server was blown away
due to the spot price rising higher than my max bid ($0.11) . Looking at
the pricing history there was a brief 1-hour window of time when the
spot price for a c1.medium instance type in region us-east-1b spiked to
*several dollars* -- far higher than even the hourly on-demand rate that
Amazon charges for the same server.
One piece of advice is to avoid us-east-1b -- that is my personal
default and I think many others do the same. Spot price variability
seems less volatile in the other zones.
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