[Beowulf] Mare Nostrum (not quite COTS)

Mark Hahn hahn at physics.mcmaster.ca
Fri Feb 18 20:25:28 PST 2005

> ranked number four in the world in speed in November 2004, is constructed of
> such totally off-the-shelf parts as IBM BladeCenter JS20 servers, 64-bit

it's funny how "off the shelf" means different things to different people.
I consider blades to be a qualitatively different category of hardware
than, say, a tyan motherboards in an AICPC chassis.  AFAIKT, blades still
run at a premium vs "normal" servers from the same vendor (which is also
at a premium vs whitebox.)

> The thinking behind MareNostrum's construction represents a new way of
> looking at these and other compute-intensive areas. Today's typical
> high-performance computing installation runs a large, parallel RISC-based
> UNIX® system with performance instead of reliability being of utmost
> importance.

egads, did the author of this really believe it?!?

> computer density in the industry, which results in high performance with a
> small footprint. The BladeCenter technology allows for 84 dual processor
> servers in a single 42 U rack,

uh, no, sorry, maybe someone should have fact-checked this.  HP has 
both xeon and opteron-based blades which put 96 duals in a rack.
it would be rather shocking if HP didn't jump on dual-core opterons, too...

> giving more than 1.4 teraflops of compute
> power in a single rack.

fused-mul-add is really a wonderful marketing tool, isn't it?

> When the power of MareNostrum is unleashed later this year, it will be at the

hmm, to me, the bigger the computer, the more money is evaporating
for every day between delivery and full user utilization.

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