[Beowulf] Lifespan of a cluster

Jörg Saßmannshausen j.sassmannshausen at ucl.ac.uk
Sun Apr 27 01:45:41 PDT 2014

Dear all,

in some of the discussions here I came across the 'lifespan of a cluster' 
argument. What I was wondering is: how long is that in HPC for number 
Is it 3 years (end of warranty), 5 years (making good use of hardware) or 

The reason behind that asking is: I got clusters here which are 10 years old, 
and quite a number of them, and I would like to get a scheme implemented to 
get the hardware replaced every X years with X being the 'lifespan of a 
cluster'. One of the various options which are currently thrown around is to 
move from my local data-centre (3 rooms, one is purely for the backup/file 
storage and the other two for HPC) into the College shared data centre (single 
room). IF we are doing that, I am a bit worried that I get told in 5 years 
time (for the sake of that argument): your clusters are end of lifetime, you 
have to get rid of them as we need space / they are consuming too much energy.

Thus, I am looking to get some answers for: how long are clusters run 
typically and how is that done in other shared data centres?

The current funding situation here means it is difficult, if not impossible, to 
get HPC hardware from funding agencies. Even if you get a bit of money, it is 
just enough to get a new node. So most clusters are a bit organically grown 
which makes administration difficult if you want to get really the best out of 
waht you paid for. In an ideal world, I would like to have that replaced every 
5 years: old kit out, new kit in. In the real world, I got to run the kit 
until it falls apart and hope that the Principal Investigator, i.e. the owner 
of the cluster, got some money to replace the old/broken nodes. Hence the 
questions so I can build up a good case to change there.

I hope that makes sense to you.

All the best from a overcast London!


Dr. Jörg Saßmannshausen, MRSC
University College London
Department of Chemistry
Gordon Street

email: j.sassmannshausen at ucl.ac.uk
web: http://sassy.formativ.net

Please avoid sending me Word or PowerPoint attachments.
See http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/no-word-attachments.html
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: signature.asc
Type: application/pgp-signature
Size: 198 bytes
Desc: This is a digitally signed message part.
URL: <http://www.beowulf.org/pipermail/beowulf/attachments/20140427/c5749846/attachment.sig>

More information about the Beowulf mailing list