Enterprise Beowulf and Beowulf on a Chip

Laurence laurenceliew at yahoo.com.sg
Tue Jun 17 21:44:17 EDT 2003


One of the accepted definition of a beowulf is the use
of low-cost COMMODITY processor... mostly INTEL and
AMD cpus.

If and when INTEL/AMD have low-cost multicpu on a
single chip.. and is available in your DIY shop next
door.... yes.. I guess it would make for a faster

As for enterprise beowulf and OLTP if this is what you
are interested in.... OLTP usually means a database...
so unless the database is parallel eg like Oracle 9i
RAC, that would still be your bottleneck... you could
queue many requests in a farm of request/compute
nodes... but if you have a large DB.. it may not make

Oracle 9i RAC runs on a cluster... but this is not the
usual definition of a beowulf

however... you may want to explore PVFS + MySQL or
Oracle... using PVFS which gives you parallel IO in a
beowulf cluster... you may be able to speed up the
IO.. it would help maybe not so much in OLTP but I
believe in data-mining type, an analogy would be the
genomics/blast people... who blast there sequences
against a flat file database... and they do experiment
with such parallel IO techniques...

when you think enterprise.. those that would use
beowulf would be those with intensive computation
needs... Volvo, Audi, Nissan for car simulation,
Philips, Toshiba for chip design, multi-media design
houses etc etc.... and others...

for "normal" enterprise... a beowulf "MAY" not be very
useful... until the day when that complex spreadsheets
can be computed not on your computer.. but sent to a
Spreadsheet farm in the data centre behind you..... 

Hope this helps.


 --- phil.neumiller at convergys.com wrote: > In my own
search for finding out whether Beowulf
> makes sense for
> enterprise computing (specifically on-line
> transaction processing
> (OLTP)), I found a paper at Compaq research:
> http://research.compaq.com/wrl/projects/Database/
> specifically the paper
> This work emphasizes "large memory stall times" as
> being
> a primary culprit limiting OLTP performance.  The
> solution
> promoted by Compaq researchers in the paper is chip
> multiprocessing (CMP).  This makes me wonder if OLTP
> can benefit from simply lots of processors (with
> fast interconnect)
> to utilize more L1, L2 cache simultaneously (a might
> bit larger
> than a chip I might add!!)...
> Their Piranha system (a research prototype)
> integrates eight
> Alpha processor cores on a chip with a two level
> cache with
> cache coherence architecture (sort of a
> micro-sub-cluster).
>  If this approach makes sense for OLTP doesn't a
> Beowulf
> make sense for OLTP work now?
> Also...
> If Beowulf makes sense on the macro level does it
> make
> sense in the micro-level or perhaps in the fractal
> sense of
> a self similar architecture (exploiting even more
> hierarchy)?
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