[Beowulf] Re: Question on hgh performance, low cost Fileserver

Ed Karns edkarns at firewirestuff.com
Tue Nov 22 12:03:41 EST 2005

On Nov 22, 2005, at 12:38 AM, beowulf-request at beowulf.org wrote:
> Today's Topics:
> ...
>    3. Re: Question on hgh performance, low cost Fileserver
>       (Michael Will)
> ...
>    9. Re: Question on hgh performance, low cost Fileserver (John  
> Hearns)
>>> We are looking into designing a low cost, high performance  
>>> storage system.
>>> ...
>>> - The HPC cluster starts with 6 AMD64 nodes and is expected to  
>>> scale to 1000+nodes in a year.
>>> - Preferably without FC/SAN
>>> We do have experience with IBM GPFS, PVFS (1,2), NetApps,  
>>> PolyServe but not with GFS and LUSTRE.
>>> PVFS is not reliable enough for home dirs (OK for scratch), GPFS  
>>> cannot
>>> do RAID5 like striping across nodes, needs SAN for RAID1 like
>> mirroring
>>> (cost $$$) , polyserve is too expensive (per CPU pricing)
>>> Is GFS or Lustre suitable for the above needs? Any other commercial
>>> slution?
>> --
>> Paulo Afonso Lopes                        | Tel: +351- 21 294 8536
>> Departamento de Informática               | 294 8300 ext.10763
>> Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia        | Fax: +351- 21 294 8541
>> Universidade Nova de Lisboa               | e-mail: pal at di.fct.unl.pt
>> 2829-516 Caparica, PORTUGAL
> ....
> On Mon, 2005-11-21 at 17:12 -0800, Michael Will wrote:
> Interesting... a sort of 'poor man's multipathing' You would have  
> to closely monitor that the mirroring over the network link is up  
> and running.
> Also look at http://www.drbd.org/ which might be the cat's pyjamas  
> for this application.

Of interest:

There are many Apple Mac Mini systems on eBay and other sources for  
under US$300, some as low as US$200. Although these will probably not  
make very good servers (high video overhead, "small" RAM expansion  
space) they certainly would make quite good coprocessing  
workstations. The Mac Mini is capable of running a variety of Linux  
variations as well as Apple's own Unix (example: http:// 
www.terrasoftsolutions.com/products/ydl/ ).

This would seem to me to be a great way to build out from a quality  
central server ... and the workstations can alternately be used in  
Paulo's University environment if conversion at some future point is  
required. (Apple has traditionally ben supportive of European  
Universities, so significant tech support and possible financial  
support may be available. For a budget wary educational environment,  
it would certainly not hurt to ask them.)

Ed Karns

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