[lug] Linux hardware

Ferdinand Schmid fschmid at archenergy.com
Fri Feb 7 08:03:35 MST 2003

--On Thursday, February 06, 2003 03:40:29 PM -0700 "Facey, Aaron"
<aaron_facey at maxtor.com> wrote:

> Hello-
> We are looking at Linux as a replacement to our Sun compute server
> farm. Basically we only use the machines for cpu intense jobs via
> LSF. We do not store anything on the local disk. We do need gigabit
> cards and probably 2GB mem per cpu in a rack mountable chassis.
> My hardware questions:
> Is there anyone out there with a similar setup?

There are lots of us.  Our company is one of the small fish with about
10 machines serving various tasks.  We are currently planning to grow
our CFD cluster to 10 CPUs.

> Dual CPU vs. single CPU - is there a performance difference?

That depends on your needs.  Dual CPU offers the advantage of shared
memory.  If your application benefits from this then I would opt for
it.  If your work can be shared among many independent systems without
performance problems then you can go single CPU.

> What would be the optimum setup at a reasonable cost?
> What are the performance differences between Xeon, itanium, and p4
> processors? 

Again this depends.  AFAIK most number crunching farms use dual AMD
systems for their superior X87 floating point performance.  We do CFD
and found these systems to outperform even the nicest XEON systems
with the software that we use.  Cost/Performance is way superior.  

For pumping data I would opt for an Intel system.  Their memory
throughput is better and the XEONS can have a nice size on-chip

> Would one be better than the other performance wise?
> Vendor's - Who is the best - hp, dell, ibm?

This again depends on what exactly you need.  If you need to do the
floating point number crunching and opt for AMD based clusters then
you need to look at companies like RackSaver and many others that
build AMD clusters.  I wouldn't say RackSaver is the best choice -
their name simply came to mind.  For Intel systems you have more
choices...  IBM offers a great selection of platforms and may be worth
looking at.  They offer Linux solutions beyond the Intel platform so
you have lots of room to grow with them.  IBM's Linux support may be
the best out there.  Dell strikes me a half-hearted with regard to
Linux support.

I hope this info is useful,

> Thanks-
> Aaron Facey
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Ferdinand Schmid
Architectural Energy Corporation
Celebrating 20 Years of Improving Building Energy Performance

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