[Beowulf] Register article on AMD OCP motherboards

Mark Hahn hahn at mcmaster.ca
Wed May 15 07:32:06 PDT 2013

> Maybe big systems are headed the same way (I know we have discussed this before).
> http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/05/15/amd_roadrunner_opteron_ocp_systems/
> I guess the financial market is driving the design as they, well, buy a lot of them!

I'm a bit mystified why these systems are interesting, except that they 
remove the middleman (dell/hp/ibm/etc).  the hardware seems to be completely
conventional (form-factor, power dissipation, config, etc).

so the message seems to be: what's the use of TLA vendors when the servers
are not just commoditized, but also appliance-like (plug-and-go)?

> The other thought that has come into my head is that as the domestic market
> for PCs dries up - being taken by the tablet market

that's the media spin; I'm not sure the numbers/facts really support it.
to what extent do tablets actually replace PCs?  for media consumption,
certainly, and for those classes of user whose "computer" use always 
was media-consumption (the email/browsing classes).  for those whose 
computer was always really a workstation, I don't think tablets are 
changing anything.  (it's easy to see why desktop sales might decrease,
without desktops-as-workstations actually becoming obsolete: they last 
longer, so replacement cycles are stretching.  no doubt helped by the 
rather long and comprehensive recession...)

> With integrated cloud services then the Beowulf idea of building systems from> tower PCs will be untenable in the future (*)

again, I'm not so sure.  tower systems were always a sort of dumpy way to 
build clusters, though sometimes cost-effective.  I think it's mainly that 
rack systems have come down in price and that most people feel some pressure
to obtain decent density for clusters (since an interesting cluster is a lot
bigger now than 10 years ago.)

> but we will be using the highest capacity commodity systems - which are
> likely to be something like these cloud/virtualisation platforms. 
> Sorry if this thought is a bit muddled.

but there's nothing new about these systems!

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