[Beowulf] Node Drop-Off

Robert G. Brown rgb at phy.duke.edu
Mon Dec 4 16:01:52 PST 2006

On Mon, 4 Dec 2006, Jim Lux wrote:

> At 10:59 AM 12/4/2006, Robert G. Brown wrote:
>> On Mon, 4 Dec 2006, Jim Lux wrote:
>>> Processors are a high dollar item for something quite compact, they're 
>>> sort of commodity (at least as far as the end user is concerned), so 
>>> they're ripe for all the fiddles that have been used on such items for 
>>> millenia.  Hey, didn't Archimedes get famous for devising some sort of 
>>> test along those lines?
>> Eureka!  So he did!
>> Are you suggesting that he take his processors into the bath with him so
>> they can talk to his rubber duckies:-)
> No.. you have that confused with the liquid cooling thread.

Good thinking!  Another benefit!  He can measure their density and cool
them at the same time!

> They're in Silcon Valley in Northern California, aren't they.  While it might 
> not be as "counter culture" as downtown San Francisco a few miles away, or as 
> mellow as Marin county a few miles farther north or Santa Cruz to the west, 
> you might not get as much attention as you might think.  They might just 
> think that you're just another one of those eccentric cluster monkeys (the 
> "naked ape" revisited).. At least the weather is usually temperate enough 
> that you wouldn't die instantly of hypothermia or sun stroke.

Oh yeah, forgot about that.  There are plenty of old bald fat naked guys
on the streets and beaches of CA, especially near SV.  Well, that does
it.  Out of ideas.  Guess one has to fall back on the old standbys,
pulling one's hair out by the roots, cursing, drinking heavily,
sacrificing chickens, running 48 hours of large-prime-number generation,
or (my personal favorite) buying from a tier 1 vendor who also sells you
3 years of onsite service so you pick up a phone and say in delicate
tones "Gee, these three nodes crash as soon as they start to actually
work -- fix them.  Now."

This is really the basic difference between tier 1 and tier 2.  You can
save short term money with the latter, but have to do things like just
plain throw out hardware -- after sweating over it for a long time,
nagging your tier 2 vendor, getting angry, losing a lot of productivity
and time.  For some projects that works -- for others it doesn't.

Note that I'm not asserting any sort of TCO bullshit advantage to one or
the other -- as long as you spend some of the money you save on
throwaway and replacement you can minimize losses as long as you aren't
TOO unlucky you can do fine with tier 2, but you do need to recognize up
front the trade-offs of the decision and deal with the additional
hassles with a sigh if not a smile...;-)


> James Lux, P.E.
> Spacecraft Radio Frequency Subsystems Group
> Flight Communications Systems Section
> Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Mail Stop 161-213
> 4800 Oak Grove Drive
> Pasadena CA 91109
> tel: (818)354-2075
> fax: (818)393-6875 

Robert G. Brown	                       http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb/
Duke University Dept. of Physics, Box 90305
Durham, N.C. 27708-0305
Phone: 1-919-660-2567  Fax: 919-660-2525     email:rgb at phy.duke.edu

More information about the Beowulf mailing list