[Beowulf] dollars-per-teraflop : any lists like the Top500?

Mark Hahn hahn at mcmaster.ca
Thu Jul 1 02:20:41 EDT 2010


> (whether capital or life cycle).  Nobody is going to pay more just because
> the vendor did a stunt of one sort or another.

I agree: vendor stunts are advertising.  but think of them as like 
a mating display - elaborate feathers or a big rack of antlers.
they make a claim of fitness that speaks mainly to a customer's
risk-aversion: if IBM/Cray/etc can make some giant cluster work, then surely
our little cluster project will succeed.  if you have more in-house
expertise, you may not value this as much.

in a sense, this factor is anti-beowulf, since the expectation for really
commoditized parts is that they'll Just Work.  with some modest care, you
can be pretty confident that the software stack will Just Work.  especially
with open-source, which provides greater access and fixability.  so most 
of the value of brand boils down to hardware/firmware-level issues that
customers are not well-equipped to deal with those, either at bid-eval time 
or once the deal is done.

my perception, though, is that vendors try to pretend such problems don't
happen, rather than bragging about how well they solve them...

regards, mark hahn.
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