[Beowulf] 10 kCore cluster in Amazon cloud, costs ~1 kUSD/hour

Prentice Bisbal prentice at ias.edu
Thu Apr 7 08:13:43 PDT 2011

On 04/07/2011 11:03 AM, Chris Dagdigian wrote:
> The CycleComputing folks are good people in my book and I bet more than 
> a few are subscribed to this list. The founders are old-school Condor 
> gurus with a long track record in this field.
> One of the nice things about their work is how "usable" it is to real 
> people with real production computing requirements - in the IAAS cloud 
> space there are way too many marketing robots talking vague BS about 
> "cloud bursting", "hybrid clusters" and storage aggregation/access 
> across LAN/WAN distances. Cycle has built, deployed & delivered all of 
> this with (what I'd consider) a bare minimum of marketing and chest 
> thumping.
> It's not a PR gimmick and limiting the definition of "cluster" to only 
> systems that run parallel applications would alienate quite a few of us 
> on this list :) In the life sciences a typical cluster might run a 
> mixture of 80-90% serial jobs with a small scattering of real MPI apps 
> running alongside.

Do not confuse "scientific computing" or "high performance computing"
with "cluster". All terms are definitely related, but you can do
scientific/high-perfomance computing without a "cluster."

As someone who also works in life sciences, I know that there are a lot
of life science tasks that are embarrassingly parallel. Running these
tasks on a bunch of different machines simultaneously is definitely
scientific and high performance computing, but it doesn't necessarily
require a cluster. Folding at home, for example.

> I get cynical about this stuff because in the cloud space you see way 
> too many commercial people promising the world without actually 
> delivering anything (other than carefully hand-managed reference account 
> projects) while the academic & supercomputing folks are all busy 
> presenting and bragging about things that will never see the light of 
> day after their thesis defense.

Me, too, which is why I started ranting about Microsoft's cloud
commercials in a separate thread. ;) It's also why I'm starting to get
picky about how the term "cluster" is used. More and more, I see people
confusing "cloud" with "cluster". I guess that cynicism is what caused
me to reply to the original post.

> There are people like Cycle/Rightscale etc. etc. who actually rise above 
> the hype and deliver clever & usable stuff with a minimum of marketing BS.
> My $.02 of course
> -Chris
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Prentice Bisbal
Linux Software Support Specialist/System Administrator
School of Natural Sciences
Institute for Advanced Study
Princeton, NJ

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