[Beowulf] Hardware considerations for running wrf

Craig Tierney Craig.Tierney at noaa.gov
Thu Nov 13 09:48:36 PST 2008

Orion Poplawski wrote:
> Some folks here are starting to run the WRF model and we may get a 
> couple machines to run it.  Can anyone with experience running the WRF 
> model comment on what kind of hardware might be particularly suited for it?

How big are the domains?  How reliably do you need the runs to finish?
If you are only running WRF on a few nodes, you can get a way with any
standard x86_64 node (although I would try and wait for Nehalem) and gigE.
If you want to be running with more than 8 nodes, you might start to consider
Infiniband for efficiency.

WRF isn't that hard to run, the questions you should really be asking
is what is the most maintainable system (in my budget) that I can get?
A rack of nodes is not a cluster.  Do you want to build and configure every part
of the cluster yourself, or do you want a vendor to wheel it in, create some
user accounts, and off the users go?

Once you start providing a cluster to your users, they are going to have
expectations of reliability and performance, and those things are going
to take effort to maintain.  And then you need to make time to educate
your users than 100% uptime and 100% runs completed successfully is
not easy (or impossible) and setting expectations will be come a necessity.


Craig Tierney (craig.tierney at noaa.gov)

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