[Beowulf] Selection of Beowulf cluster type

Lombard, David N david.n.lombard at intel.com
Mon Jan 19 12:09:18 EST 2004

From: Per Lindstrom; Sunday, January 18, 2004 9:59 PM
> Hi,
> I am going to set up my first beowulf cluster and I have no experience
> of this.
> The cluster will be built of two dual CPU workstations.
> Box 1
> MSI Pro266TD Master-LR2 (MS-9105)  (I can not recommended MSI)
> 2 x CPU Intel Tualatin 1,13 GHz with 512 L2 cashe
> 4 x 512 MB DDR SDRAM PC2100
> Box 2.
> Intel model SE7505VB2 ATX PCI, FSB 533MHz
> 2 x CPU Intel 2,8 GHz Xeon with 512kB L2 cache 533FSB
> 2 x 1 GB DDR SDRAM PC2100 Reg ECC
> The cluster is intended for numerical simulations (FEA) with ABAQUS

The most important factor is how ABAQUS runs your jobs on the two
systems individually and on the cluster as a whole.

If ABAQUS doesn't do any sort of load balancing, e.g., it simply cuts
the problem in half (or quarters), you will likely see the effect that
the problem solution time is controlled (limited) by the speed of the
slower system.

You also haven't discussed the available disk (storage).  I do not know
what the disk requirements of ABAQUS are.  If it has significant disk
requirements, e.g., disk bandwidth, the disks will also affect the
solution time.  I don't expect disk latency to be an issue with any FEA
app, and presume you have sufficiently large disks.

Finally, the network may have some impact when running a job across the

Bottom line.  Once you get ABAQUS running, you will likely benefit from
analyzing how well it runs in serial, SMP, and DMP modes on your
cluster.  For example, you may find the "best" use is to run the cluster
in throughput (running one job per node, possibly under a queuing
system), rather than parallel performance mode (running one job across
both nodes).  I put best in quotes because that quality depends on your

David N. Lombard
My comments represent my opinions, not those of Intel Corporation.
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