[Beowulf] MS Cray

Gus Correa gus at ldeo.columbia.edu
Wed Sep 17 12:32:33 EDT 2008


Dear Beowulf fans

Since I posted the Cray CX1 announcement,
just to be fair to other players,  here are some of them:

1) SiCortex has a Linux and MIPS (72 processors)
based "deskside supercomputer".
They claim it to work with 300W of power.
Of course, being Linux, it requires Linux literacy to use.
See:

http://sicortex.com/products/sc072_pds/sc072_pds_datasheet

2) NVidia is advertising its Tesla series,
although this GPU-based deskside system will probably work
as a "deskside co-processor" rather than as a "deskside supercomputer".
Literacy in CUDA, not only in C and Linux, is probably required to use 
it effectively.
GPU experts, please correct me if I am wrong.
See:

http://www.nvidia.com/object/tesla_8_series.html

There may be more "deskside supercomputers" out there,
and I apologize to anyone that may have been omitted.
NEC had something called SX-8i, I think, not very long ago.
If the Cray CX1 idea sticks and the machines sell, it is likely that other
companies will launch similar product lines.

***

Deskside supercomputers, and even bigger ones,
are starting to be marketed as "plug-and-play", as something that 
requires little, if any,
system administration and maintenance
(proprietary hardware and maintenance fees are rarely mentioned),
and not much computer literacy to be used.
Other postings to this thread already pointed this out.
All they need is an available power outlet on your office wall ( ... how 
about an Ethernet port?),
and similar marketing arguments.

They are marketed in contrast to clusters,
which are pictured as complicated beasts, hard and expensive to maintain,
requiring dedicated IT personnel, sucking more power, and leading to 
higher TCO.
The logic presented to decision makers would be that, besides being user 
friendly,
what you pay upfront for these machines you recover quickly in IT 
salaries and utility bills.

Gus Correa

John Leidel wrote:

>On Wed, 2008-09-17 at 10:01 -0400, Joe Landman wrote:
>  
>
>>Gerry Creager wrote:
>>
>>    
>>
>>>The CX1 looks like something I'd love next to my desk -- with Linux on 
>>>it -- to accomplish testing before I take something to the big iron.  It 
>>>      
>>>
>>This is something I suspect you will be able to do.  The CX1 may support 
>>Linux (and it wouldn't surprise me if it had that as an option).
>>    
>>
>
>Indeed... it supports RedHat.  Oddly enough, no mention of SLES.  Cray
>has been running SLES on their XT login/service nodes for quite some
>time.  I'm curious why they changed horses.  
>
>  
>
>>>might even allow me to pre- and post-process my data for hurricane WRF 
>>>runs.  It's not hefty enough to let me do those runs in the timeframe I 
>>>require otherwise.
>>>      
>>>
>>Heh... We like the under-desktop experience, with lots of fast disk and 
>>big pipes to the disk.  Honestly, this looks like the direction for most 
>>of "smaller" HPC that can run locally under your own control.  The big 
>>iron/heavy metal for the large (non-prototype) jobs.
>>
>>    
>>
>>>It's a tool, not a solution.
>>>      
>>>
>>Yup.  Lots of folks get lost in this, thinking that a solution == the 
>>thing they market.  Its not.  It is just one aspect of things.  A 
>>product is a tool.  A solution is so much more than that (and usually 
>>starts with a statement of a problem ... otherwise it is a solution 
>>searching for a problem).
>>
>>Joe
>>
>>    
>>
>>>gerry
>>>
>>>      
>>>
>>    
>>
>
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>

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