[Bioclusters] Webserver Hardware Spec

Chris Dagdigian dag at sonsorol.org
Fri Jul 29 15:11:10 EDT 2005

Hi Peter,

You don't really provide enough details for us to help out with the  
spec information. The jobs you are running, their requirements and  
how often you need to run them are all important bits of data.

Web servers as a general rule can run on extremely cheap and low end  
hardware so you should let your actual jobs and scientific workflow  
drive the hardware requirements.

Some general pre-purchase advice:

  - the best benchmark test is one you run yourself using the  
software tools and algorithms that are most important to you. Most  
hardware vendors are willing to let you eval or test hardware you are  
thinking about purchasing. Some may give you a loaner for a few days  
or weeks and others will give you remote access to one -- either  
method will work

  - currently it seems to me that AMD Opteron based systems currently  
provide the best price/performance ratio. At least that's what I'd  
start with; then I'd let my scientific app requirements drive the  
actual selection. IBM and Sun both sell great Opteron based systems  
and there are many "whitebox" system sellers in both the US and UK.   
Remember though that "general" advice is not as good as running a  
test/benchmark yourself.  Apple G5's or Intel CPUs may also work well  
for you.

  - Your budget is big enough to allow you to be  flexible in your  
hardware choice - you can afford a small cluster of inexpensive dual- 
CPU machines which is a nice way of dealing with workflows involving  
lots of individual computing tasks that can be farmed out to  
individual nodes.  -OR- you can spend your money on something like a  
single quad-CPU machine packed with lots of memory, speedy storage  
and redundant componants.  The cluster vs big-single-box decision  
depends on your job requirements.


On Jul 29, 2005, at 12:11 PM, Peter Oledzki wrote:

> Hello everyone,
> My supervisor is looking into getting some hardware and I thought  
> that I'd
> asked some experts so he doesn't cock up the specs!
> Right we've got about $17,500 dollars to spend and we need to get some
> hardware to act as a webserver to process jobs and be used also as a
> repository for the database that is being accessed during  
> processing. The
> database is going to be mirrored. At present the database is only  
> 80 Gig
> however it is growing with the size of the PDB (exponentially). So  
> really I'm
> asking for a well balanced stable system that has a good price to  
> performance
> ratio.
> Right I'll stop there as I don't know what the hell I'm really  
> talking about.
> Ohh one final concern is that we're in the UK so will there be a price
> difference in comparison to the US?
> Anyway cheers for any suggestions and help.
> Pete
> -- 
> **********************************************************
> Peter Oledzki - Third Year PhD Student
> School of Biochemistry and Microbiology
> University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK
> Tel: +44 (0)113 343 4447
> Mobile: +44 07734967296
> Fax: +44 (0)113 343 3167
> 'Perspire to climb as high as you can dream'
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