[Beowulf] distributed file storage solution?

Craig Tierney ctierney at hypermall.net
Tue Dec 12 10:07:54 PST 2006

Mark Hahn wrote:
> | Just as an FYI, I would recommend that whatever you decide on, you 
> develop a
> | "show me" attitude and test it at your location using your job mix 
> BEFORE you
> | spend a dime on it. They you can decide how much time and money it 
> will take
> | to make it work.
> have you had success with this approach?  I'm pretty sure vendors would 
> have laughed at us if we asked for it, though for something small (few 
> TB, <100 clients, etc), I'm sure it would work.  then again, anyone 
> could do that sort of small project on a weekend.  if you have hundreds 
> of clients,
> expensive (non-Gb) interconnect, multiple racks, power,cooling,floor needs,
> I don't think you'll get a lot of people offering to do full demos for you.
> in short, if you do this, aren't you effectively pre-selecting 
> high-margin vendors?

My problem was never getting a vendor to let me demo their software.  My
problem was being able to gather enough hardware to adequately test the
system as compared to where it would be deployed.  At times I tested 
both Ibrix and Terrascale on as much of my system as I could steal from
the users (768 nodes).  For these two tests, they weren't even 'if it 
works I will buy it'.  It was strictly for evaluation and to help guide
future purchase decisions.  They were both younger companies at the 
time, but it is something I would expect even today.

This isn't too hard for the vendor, they just have to provide software 
and support.  For hardware solutions (Panasas, Isilon, and now 
Terrascale) that takes a bit more investment on their part.  It would
be harder.

For large systems, I would never enter into an agreement with a 
filesystem vendor that did not have a acceptance test that must be
completed succesfully before I paid them anything.  The test would
be a mixture of my applications, multiple copies of fsx, building the
linux kernel, and many clients to one file MPI-IO tests.  I would
be fair, and give them a chance to fix any problems found, but I am
tired of buying products that don't work.


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