[Beowulf] SiCortex experience anyone?

Joe Landman landman at scalableinformatics.com
Tue May 27 16:12:35 EDT 2008


Gerry Creager wrote:

> SiCortex is not too far from the Beowulf concept but is possibly closer 
> to a packaged single DM entity.  I'd thought of it as a low-power, low 
> heat (DM) HPC system without ever considering the beowulfness of it.  It 
> uses Linux and MPI, so it meets my needs in that regard.  It's low-power 
> and thus lower heat; these are good.  It's slower than current PC class 
> hardware.  Bad selection for me at this point.

I think there is a SiCortex person on the list somewhere.  My question 
is how is this fundamentally different in the approach than Orion 
Multisystems?  Yes, I know about the technological differences.  The 
issue is the approach to market: lower power (in all senses of the word) 
CPUs coupled together.

For them to be successful, they need customers to buy machines, which 
usually means getting commercial codes onto them.  This is *hard*.  It 
cannot be understated how hard that is for a new architecture.  You have 
to start by convincing the ISV that their code will generate more 
revenue for the ISV than cost.  Then you have to convince the customer 
to buy.

Orion never really hit the critical mass it needed to convince major 
ISVs to buy into it and target this as a platform to deliver cycles. 
Most of the ISVs I have spoken to recently are looking at acceleration 
technologies for their needs.  Remember, the ISVs want end users to 
spend less on the hardware so that the users will feel like they are 
spending less in general, even if the software price is the same or 
more.  How Orion helped with that is unknown.  How SiCortex helps with 
this is also unknown.

Will be interesting to see.  Hopefully more than just a few researchers 
will buy their gear.


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Joseph Landman, Ph.D
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Scalable Informatics LLC,
email: landman at scalableinformatics.com
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