[Beowulf] Building new cluster - estimate

John Hearns john.hearns at streamline-computing.com
Mon Jul 28 04:16:11 EDT 2008


On Mon, 2008-07-28 at 01:52 -0400, Mark Hahn wrote:

> 
> > 2. reasonably fast interconnect (IB SDR 10Gb/s would suffice our
> > computational needs (running LAMMPs molecular dynamics and VASP DFT codes)
> > 3. 48U rack (preferably with good thermal management)
> 
> "thermal management"?  servers need cold air in front and unobstructed
> exhaust.  that means open or mesh front/back (and blanking panels).
> 
Agreed.  However depending on the location if space is tight you could
think of an APC rack with the heavy fan exhaust door on th rear, and
vent the hot air.

> > - 2x Intel Xeon E5420 Hapertown 2.5 GHz quad core CPU         :  2x$350=$700
> > - Dual LGA 771 Intel 5400 Supermicro mb                                :
> > $430

I'd recommend looking at the Intel Twin motherboard systems for this
project. Leaves plenty of room for cluster head node, and RAID arrays, a
UPS and switches.
Supermicro have these motherboards with onboard Infiniband, so no need
for extra cards.

One thing you have to think about is power density - it is no use
cramming 40 1U systems into a rack plus switches and head nodes - it is
going to draw far too many amps. Think two times APC PDUs per cabinet at
the very maximum. The Intel twins help here again, as they have a high
efficiency PSU and the losses are shared between two systems. I'm not
sure if we would still have to spread this sort of load between two
racks - it depends on the calculations.

You also need to put in some budget for power - importantly - air
conditioning. 




> > In principle, we have some experience in building and managing clusters, but
> > with 40 node systems it would make sense to get a good cluster integrator to
> > do the job. Can people share their recent experiences and recommend reliable
> > vendors to deal with?
Our standard build would be an APC rack, IPMI in all compute nodes plus
two networked APC PDUs.

John Hearns










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