[Beowulf] Article on Sanger centre

Mark Hahn hahn at physics.mcmaster.ca
Tue Jun 7 08:04:37 PDT 2005

> Slashdot is carrying an article on the infrastructure at the Sanger
> Centre.


> Goodness - still running many Alpha processors. 

hey!  what's wrong with alphas?

I was rather surprised that they've left it until now to consider replacing
the alphas, though.  I wouldn't have thought that blast-like stuff is all
that great on alphas.  perhaps they do more MD-type stuff.  it's also 
gratifying to see a real bioinformatics site talking fairly modest numbers
when it comes to sequence DB's.  (so often, it seems like bioinformatics folk
get carried away into extrapolating into the many-PB range...)

> Might be worth reversing the car up to the loading bay the day they
> are got rid of....

we have a much smaller number (around 450), and are planning to redeploy
then, rather than getting rid of them.  we've had them running (in 100-150p
clusters) for 4+ years, and are buying >6K mostly opterons.  but the alphas 
will be coalesced into a single cluster that will still be interesting for 
some codes.

our es40's dissipate about 750W, and I'd say that a single modern
dual-opteron (say 240W) is modestly faster in compute power.  there's 
definitely a power savings there, but also a drastic space savings.
but there are situations where power and space is relatively cheap...

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