[Bioclusters] Planning for a cluster

Vsevolod (Simon) Ilyushchenko bioclusters@bioinformatics.org
Tue, 02 Sep 2003 15:56:37 -0400

Hi all,

We are looking at buying a fairly large cluster (several hundred nodes) 
next year. If you have any thoughts on the following questions, could 
you please share them?

1. What are your top three cluster vendors in terms of hardware 
reliability and support?

2. Has anyone used IBM/HP/Sun blades in Linux clusters? Are there any 
blade-specific problems? (Eg, overheating, bottlenecks in chassis 

3. Is anyone using (happily) a half-U non-blade solution? (Meaning
two dual-CPU machines in a 1-U space.) If yes, who is the vendor?

4. What is your favorite method of file sharing for hundreds of nodes? I 
tested PVFS over a year ago, but it was slow and unreliable. Now there 
also are OpenGFS and Lustre... Are there any hardware solutions for this 
which don't cost insane amounts of money (like SAN connection on every 

5. I saw the recent thread about problems with Opterons. How close in 
your opinion are they to production use? How about Itaniums? I see on 
the web a lot of press releases about Itanium clusters, but very few 
real-life stories. Has anyone heard of 64-bit CPUs on blades in the 

Thanks a lot,

Simon (Vsevolod ILyushchenko)   simonf@cshl.edu

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