[Beowulf] Newbie Question: Racks versus boxes and good rack solutions for commodity hardware

arjuna brahmaforces at gmail.com
Thu Dec 11 02:04:38 PST 2008

I am in NewDelhi India. However I would prefer to put the cluster together
myself, because

1) I am a good python programmer and like programming and playing with
2) I will be using the cluster for animation (art + computers) and may have
to bend it and tinker with it...therefore it makes sense for me to know it
inside out.
3) If I set it up then I can grow it, and i envision it growing, outsourcing
the whole thing would be expensive
4) I have been using linux for several years and am comfortable in the
5) I have a bunch of old computers lying about which are not so old and run
basic versions of linux fast.

What is 1u?

What is a blade system?

I would be putting it in a room with air conditioning.

At this time I am trying to figure out the racks. Am meeting the hardware
guy on Saturday and we were thinking of opening up the PCS i have lying
around and taking measurements of how the mother boards fit into the
cases,with the intention of creating a rack from scratch. Any ideas of what
goes into a good rack in terms of size and matieral (assuming it has to be

Also again, what might be some upto date books on the subject and any
experiences regarding the actual creation of the rack and the physical

I am starting with 3 nodes to be expanded to n nodes....The 3 nodes will
allow me to keep complexity down while learning and then i can expand to n
nodes once i have it down to increase speed.

Am planning to run animation software (like blender) on it. Since animation
software requires large processing power i am assuming they have already
worked on parrallelizing the code...

Anyone using clusters for animation on this list?

> Two pieces of advice
> a) let us know where you are physically. Talk to a clustering company in
> your country, or area.
> You will be surprised - they will put the whole thing together for you as a
> 'turnkey' cluster AND what's more important support it. OK, you don't get
> the learning experience which you are after.
> b) if this thing is to sit in your office, think about noise, cooling and
> how many amps you can draw from a wall socket.
> 1U servers have lots of little high speed fans and the noise gets very,
> very annoying.
> Think of putting this thing in a separate room, with some air conditioning.
> Even a small room with a portable wheeled unit, venting to the outside may
> be adequate for you.
> Have you thought about a blade system for your particular situation? Might
> be the ideal solution.

Best regards,
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