[Beowulf] Third-party drives not permitted on new Dell servers?

Lux, Jim (337C) james.p.lux at jpl.nasa.gov
Sun Mar 21 08:41:55 PDT 2010

On 3/21/10 1:52 AM, "John Hearns" <hearnsj at googlemail.com> wrote:

> On 16 February 2010 07:08, Mark Hahn <hahn at mcmaster.ca> wrote:
>> I think the real paradigm shift is that disks have become a consumable
>> which you want to be able to replace in 1-2 product generations (2-3 years).
>> along with this, disks just aren't that important, individually - even
>> something _huge_ like seagate's firmware problem, for instance, only drove
>> up random failures, no?
> You have just hit a very big nail on the head.
> Remember, this is the Beowulf list and Beowulf is about applying COTS
> technology.

To a certain extent Beowulfery has strayed from its roots.  Originally, it
was:Hey, I can do supercomputing that's competitive (or almost as good) as
the big iron with cheap consumer gear.

But now it has succeeded to the point that it's the dominant way of
supercomputing, and the emphasis is on optimizing performance, almost to the
point of CDC carefully trimming the wire lengths on the fast big vector
machines.  Clusters these days leverage commodity, but the nodes tend to be
more specialized, compared the run of the mill desktops that we started

Would you see anything like the StoneSouperComputer today?
Talk about a heterogenous cluster.

 We're in the Web 2.0 age, with Google, Microsoft et. al.
> deploying containerised data centres - and somehow I don't reckon they
> keep all their data on some huge EMC fibrechannel array with a dual FC
> fabric and a live mirror to another lockstep duplicate array in
> another building, via dark fibre, with endless discussions on going to
> 8Gbit FC  (yadda yadda, you get the point).
> As Mark says - storage is storage. It should be bought by the pallet
> load, and deployed like Lego bricks.

Yes. And the true direction of classic Beowulfery should be to deal with the
non-ideal/heterogenous nature of this approach.


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