[Beowulf] Green Cluster?

David Mathog mathog at caltech.edu
Mon Jul 21 10:58:56 PDT 2008

"Lombard, David N" <dnlombar at ichips.intel.com> wrote

> On Fri, Jul 18, 2008 at 10:20:54PM -0700, fkruggel at uci.edu wrote:
> > 
> > Hi All,
> > 
> > I am wondering whether there is any mechanism to automatically
> > power down nodes (e.g., ACPI S3) when idle for some time, and
> > automatically wake up when requested (e.g., by WOL, some cluster
> > scheduler, ssh). I imagine that I could cut down power & cooling
> > on our system by more than 50%. Any hints?
> The key is whether S3 is supported on your nodes; it's usually not
> on servers.

The key is more often than not "how badly broken is the BIOS"?  We have
two IBM X3455 systems with identical CPUs and the one with the older
BIOS has CPU frequency control working, whereas the latest and greatest
BIOS breaks it.  Here we're not talking about going all the way to S3,
just providing the option to spin a bit more slowly when the system
isn't busy.  Also, as somebody mentioned earlier in this thread, WOL
which works but is not correctly initialized by the BIOS at power up is
incredibly common (here is one: Asus A8N5X motherboard).

This is one instance where I wish the Federal government (and/or the
European Union) would get off its collective duff and set a standard
which says that if computer hardware supports energy saving modes, the
BIOS must do so too.  They should also provide for a hot line to report
violators.  Vendors are notorious about not fixing their energy wasting
broken BIOS versions, but they would hopefully take a little more care
with this software when shipping a broken BIOS would result in fines.


David Mathog
mathog at caltech.edu
Manager, Sequence Analysis Facility, Biology Division, Caltech

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