[Beowulf] New member, upgrading our existing Beowulf cluster

Prentice Bisbal prentice at ias.edu
Thu Dec 3 07:40:12 PST 2009

Hearns, John wrote:
> I was wondering if anyone has actual experience with running more than
> one node from a single power supply. Even just two boards on one PSU
> would be nice. We will be using barely 200W per node for 50 nodes and it
> just seems like a big waste to buy 50 power supply units. I have read
> the old posts but did not see any reports of success.
> Look at the Supermicro twin systems, they have two motherboards in 1U or
> four motherboards in 2U.
> I believe HP have similar.      

What I learned at SC09:

HP does make twin nodes similar to SuperMicro, but the HP nodes are not
hot-swappable, if a single node goes down, you need to take down all the
nodes in the chassis before you can remove the dead node. Not very
practical. The SuperMicro nodes are definitely hot-swappable.

> Or of course any of the blade chassis – Supermicro, HP, Sun and dare I
> say it SGI.
> On a smaller scale you could look at the ‘personal supercomputers’ from
> Cray and SGI.

The one problem with most blade chassis is that they are still
relatively expensive. There's a lot of technology in the backplanes
(ethernet, IB, KVM, etc), making them expensive.

At SC09, I saw that Appro has a "dumb" blade chassis - the chassis only
provides power, and the networking, KVM access, etc, are accessed from
the front of the blade. The logic being this makes the chassis/blades
cheaper since there's less custom (costly) technology. I didn't get any
pricing information, so I don't know if the cost savings is real or just
a marketing claim.


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