[Beowulf] A cluster for material simulation
gmichal at uow.edu.au
Mon Dec 3 18:20:26 EST 2007
Good morning all,
Our faculty is thinking about a cluster for material simulations. At the
moment we would like to use FEM, MD, MPM and maybe in some cases a
multiscale FEM/MD or MPM/MD. We will start with a very small cluster
around 5 nodes to be familliar with this kind of system and then extend it
to around 20 nodes. Tasks size could vary between 1G to let say 10G. FEM
will use Abaqus or CODE_ASTER. I don't really know the name of the
softwares for MPM and MD.
I did some reasearch and reading (by the way, Building clustered linux
systems by Robert W.Lucke is a bit scary!) and defined 2 kind of systems.
I'd like your opinion on these.
Both systems use a Gigabit ethernet, 2GB of memory per CPU, 80GB of sata
hard drive per nodes.
Dekstop motherboard based system:
1 asus P5E WS Professional motherboard, 1066FSB, DDR2 800 NON ECC
unbuffered, 2GigE ports, 1 Intel Q6600 CPU @2.4GHz 8MB L2 cache
Server motherboard based system:
Supermicroserver 6015C-MTB 1333/1066FSB, DDR2 667 ECC FB-DIMM, 2GigE
ports, 2 intel Xeon 5410 CPU @2.3Ghz 12MB L2 cache
It might seems I'm comparing apples and oranges but theoretical peak
performance is equivalent and in term of cost/CPU there is not a huge
difference(150 to 250 A$), also the server solution use twice as less
nodes wich could be interesting in term of space, cables, switch... For
recycling the desktop option seems better except if we use the servers for
some kind of graphic cluster in the futur.
Now the real questions:
1- If I understood properly FEM is kind of memory bounded so DDR2
800/1066FSB/8MB L2 cache or DDR2 667/1333FSB/12MB L2 cache -> kind of
newbie to theses things!
2- Which one seems better in term of performance, reliability?
3- Do I need a distinct network for NFS sharing (thath's why I wanted 2
GigE ports per nodes) or I put the shared data on the master node(Quote
from R.W.Luke book: "This is bad, bad, bad")?
4- there is also the supermicro superserver 6015tw-tb with two dual
socket motherboard in a 1U form factor (node it's just two nodes put in
one box, no interconnections whatsoever apart from the PSU) with roughtly
the same price per CPU compare to the other supermicro solution, could be
interesting for an even more compact system, do you have any knowledge
about this system?
5- anything I didn't think of and might be worth checking such as "Oh!
you need a fast hard drive as i/o is critical...;-)"
Thank you for your advices!
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