[Beowulf] HP redstone servers

Vincent Diepeveen diep at xs4all.nl
Tue Nov 8 17:01:47 PST 2011

hi Rayson,

Most interesting stuff.

The question i ask myself. Why is it so expensive?

If i do a silly compare, just looking to the Ghz. Then a quad core  
is similar to a single core i7 @ 1.5Ghz roughly for Diep. I rounded  
up optimistically
the IPC of diep at a single ARM core to 0.5 (if you realize a  
bulldozer core gets like 0.73,
you'll realize the problem of this optimistic guess, whereas an i7  
core is over 1.73+ ).

Diep being in principle a 32 bits integer program, just 64 bits  
compiled for
a bigger caching range (hashtable) of course profits perfectly from ARM.

You won't find  much software that can run better on such ARM cpu's  
than a chessprogram.

So 1600 nodes then is like 800 cores 3Ghz i7.

Or a 100 socket machine i7 @ 8 cores a CPU,
or a 128 socket machine i7 @ 6 cores a CPU.

The 6 core Xeons actually are a tad higher clocked than 3Ghz,
but let's forget about that now.

Now getting that with a good network might not be so cheap,
but so to speak there is a budget of far over

1.2 million / 128 = $9375 per socket.
So that 's a 64 node switch and 64 nodes dual socket Xeon.

That gives a budget of $18750 a node. Pretty easy to build i'd say so.
Now performance a watt. Of course something ARM is good at.

With 64 nodes that means 9900 watt / 64 = 154 watt per node.

We can be sure that the Xeon burn more than that.

Yet it's not much more than factor 2 off and everywhere so far i  
rounded off optimistically
for the ARM. I took 3Ghz cpu's, in reality they're higher clocked. I  
took 6 cores, in reality
they're soon 8 cores a node. I took an IPC of 0.5 for the arm cores,  
and we must still see
they will get that IPC, most likely they won't.

So it's nearly on par if we do a real accurate calculation. It's not  
like there is much
of a margin in power consumption versus optimized i7 code.

This factor 2 evaporates practical.

Who would anyone be interested in buying this at this huge price with  
as far as i can see 0 advantages.

On Nov 8, 2011, at 10:03 PM, Rayson Ho wrote:

> ARM is an interesting platform that offers better performance/power
> ratio than x64 processors. I don't think ARM will eat into HPC shares
> of AMD/Intel/IBM POWER or enter the TOP500 list any time soon.
> However, I am expecting to see ARM in high throughput environments in
> the near future. Thus, we are announcing that the next version of Grid
> Engine released by the Grid Scheduler open project will support ARM
> Linux.
> We tested SGE on an ARMv7 box. As the SGE code is 64-bit clean, when
> 64-bit ARM processors come out in the next year or two, our version
> should/will compile & work out of the box.
> Rayson
> =================================
> Grid Engine / Open Grid Scheduler
> http://gridscheduler.sourceforge.net
> On Tue, Nov 1, 2011 at 10:10 PM, Bill Broadley  
> <bill at cse.ucdavis.edu> wrote:
>> The best summary I've found:
>> http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/11/01/hp_redstone_calxeda_servers/
>> Specifications at for the ECX-1000:
>> http://www.calxeda.com/products/energycore/ecx1000/techspecs
>> And EnergyCard:
>> http://www.calxeda.com/products/energycards/techspecs
>> The only hint on price that I found was from theregister.co.uk:
>>  The sales pitch for the Redstone systems, says Santeler, is that a
>>  half rack of Redstone machines and their external switches
>>  implementing 1,600 server nodes has 41 cables, burns 9.9 kilowatts,
>>  and costs $1.2m.
>> So it sounds like for 6 watts and $750 you get a quad core 1.4 GHz  
>> arm
>> 10G connected node.
>> Comments?
>> _______________________________________________
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> -- 
> Rayson
> ==================================================
> Open Grid Scheduler - The Official Open Source Grid Engine
> http://gridscheduler.sourceforge.net/
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