[Bioclusters] Re: Recommendations for building a cluster (Ahmed Moustafa)

Lee Watkins lwatkins at cidr.jhmi.edu
Mon Oct 22 12:49:39 EDT 2007

bioclusters-request at bioinformatics.org wrote:
> I have googled and found these options Dell PowerEdge SC1435 
> (http://www.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.aspx/pedge_sc1435), 
> Sun Fire X2100 M2 (http://www.sun.com/servers/entry/x2100/) and Mac 
> Cluster (http://www.apple.com/science/solutions/workgroupcluster.html), 
> do you have an experience with any of these options?

Sun also has a 2U 4-socket quad-core Xeon-based system, the X4450, just 
became available.  So you can get 16 cores in a 2U box with up to 128GB 
RAM - that's 8GB per core, not huge but is plenty for most apps.  Comes 
with Solaris 10 installed but also will run Linux or Windows.  You may 
not need a cluster if this config suffices, maybe just two of these 
boxes to manage instead of 5 or 10 of some others.  (Obviously two 
16-core systems is not equivalent to eight 4-core systems - which is 
"better" depends on how you'd use them.)  The academic discounted price 
is fairly cheap if ordered minimally configured and then load it up with 
less expensive RAM - probably under $50K for two such systems.  Anyway, 
it's another option to consider, which is what I'm doing.  We currently 
have an Xserve (PowerPC) cluster and have been happy enough with it that 
we just bought another 9 Apple Xserves (8GB RAM each, 2 Intel Xeon 
dual-core processors in each 1U box so 36 cores total) and got a great 
price... a little over $50K, including extras like extended warranty, 
faster disks, etc.  Although with Xserve you pretty much have to run OS 
X, which is fine unless some app you need doesn't come in an OS X binary 
and you can't get source to compile yourself.


Lee Watkins, Jr.
Director of Bioinformatics
Center for Inherited Disease Research (CIDR)
Institute of Genetic Medicine
Johns Hopkins Bayview Research Campus
333 Cassell Drive, Triad Bldg. Suite 2000
Baltimore, MD 21224

lwatkins at jhu.edu | www.cidr.jhmi.edu
410-550-7042 ofc | 410-903-2989 urgent_only

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