[Beowulf] Re: What vendors would you be sure to check out?

Gerry Creager N5JXS gerry.creager at tamu.edu
Mon Jan 2 21:39:46 PST 2006

I'll be glad to talk to someone, but it's not really important.  If they 
get competetive, they'll get the bid.

As for the AMD stuff, I recall a very brief flurry probably 6-8 years 
ago in consumer desktops, about the time Intel was just starting to 
visit with DoJ about non-competetive practices, and Microsoft was in 


David Kewley wrote:
> On Monday 02 January 2006 21:17, Gerry Creager N5JXS wrote:
>>2 years ago whe I spec'd our Appro cluster we actually went out for
>>bids.  Dell responded.  Among other things, they decided we needed
>>their managed 100Mb/s switches for interconnect (GBE was in the RFQ),
>>and they told me we had to get WinXP for our HPC work.  They assured
>>me there was a good fortran compiler and that MPI ran on XP...  Their
>>quote was a factor of 2x higher than the next highest quote.
>>I spent time on the phone with our University rep and her SE and was
>>subjected to the kind of treatment I'd received from IBM in the '70s
>>when I wanted a real-time system for medical research... THEY knew
>>what I needed and I should just listen.
>>If they're now easier to deal with, we'll know.  I've gotta go out
>>for bids again in a couple of months for 64 nodes of multiproc dual
>>core. They'll be on the list but...
> The way those Dell salespeople treated you is horrible.  I had a much, 
> much better experience.
>>>>1) I have never had a problem getting the MS license dropped from
>>>>the order.  In fact, on their web-based server configuration page
>>>>they specifically have a "No installed OS" selection available.
>>>>2) I have always received the systems that I have ordered w/o
>>>>substitution.  Any errors in the orders were handled quickly by the
>>>>Dell sales people.
>>>I agree with Bill.  I think whoever suggested that these issues are
>>>problems is referring more to consumer-oriented sales than to
>>>rackmount cluster sales.
>>>You should have none of these types of problems if you buy
>>>cluster-oriented rackmount stuff.  Just ask Dell hard questions up
>>>front, make certain that the order specifies exactly what you want,
>>>and if Dell screws up, point it out to them.  I predict that
>>>they'll fix it no problem; that's certainly been my experience.
>>Well, our University has exactly one sales droid for all Dell sales.
>>I'm not sure she can differentiate between rack-mount/cluster
>>hardware and desktops, although her SE can apparently tell the
>>difference.  I've not had trouble getting servers with no s/w before,
>>but when I was recently offered the opportunity to look at their
>>blades, I was told they came with the new Windows HPC s/w.  No
> Again, you clearly had a horrible experience.
> I'm gonna email one of the upper Dell HPC guys and ask him who you and 
> others on this can contact about your bad Dell HPC sales experience.  I 
> know Dell is pushing hard into HPC and they want very much to do an 
> good and ever-improving job at it.
> I hope I don't sound like a Dell sales flunky -- I'm not one.  But I've 
> had hundreds of hours of direct interaction with Dell people over the 
> past year, and I think I have a good idea where they're coming from.  
> I'm pretty impressed with them, against my expectations going in.  They 
> do screw up, but they almost always correct things quite satisfactorily 
> (for me at least), and they're very interested in improving their 
> process.
>>They've forayed into AMD and back out several times.  I don't think
>>they're selling anything right now that way.
> Just curious: have they ever actually *sold* AMD?  About what year?  I 
> know they've threatened a number of times, but they always go back to 
> Intel.
> David

Gerry Creager -- gerry.creager at tamu.edu
Texas Mesonet -- AATLT, Texas A&M University	
Cell: 979.229.5301 Office: 979.458.4020 FAX: 979.847.8578
Page: 979.228.0173
Office: 903A Eller Bldg, TAMU, College Station, TX 77843

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