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Linux Desktop Clustering - Pick Your Pricerange

timothy posted more than 12 years ago | from the cheapness-rocks dept.

Hardware 199

crashlight writes: "A Linux cluster on the desktop--Rocket Calc just announced their 8-processor "personal" cluster in a mid-tower-sized box. Starting at $4500, you get 8 Celeron 800MHz processors, each with 256MB RAM and a 100Mbps ethernet connection. The box also has an integrated 100Mbps switch. Plus it's sexy." Perhaps less sexy, but for a lot less money, you can also run a cluster of Linux (virtual) machines on your desktop on middle-of-the-road hardware. See this followup on Grant Gross's recent piece on Virtual Machines over at Newsforge.

cancel ×

199 comments

Early post. (-1, Offtopic)

Tasty Beef Jerky (543576) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883470)

Yeah, I probably missed FP. I'm just not with it today. Propz to all.

Re:Early post. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2883478)

You fool, you need to have more fucking faith in yourself! Congrats on the FP, now work on the self-esteem, bitchcunt!

Re:Early post. (-1)

Tasty Beef Jerky (543576) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883633)

Until you get a login, you are not worthy to give me advice. I recommend you help me save some trees by licking my nuts clean after my morning BM. The toilet paper savings alone should prompt you to drop to your needs and administer a hearty cleaning.

Re:Early post. (-1)

Carp Flounderson (542291) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883545)

How large are your testes?

Re:Early post. (-1)

Tasty Beef Jerky (543576) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883603)

I need to wipe them after I take a dump. They dangle in the water.

I've thought about making a nifty little harness for them to keep them clean during bowel movements, but that just means more laundry.

Re:Early post. (-1)

Fecal Troll Matter (445929) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883598)

Some numbnut in my family gave me a $25 gift card to BEST BUY. [bestbuy.com]
What should I buy?

Re:Early post. (-1)

Tasty Beef Jerky (543576) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883618)

I'd say put it towards a nice X-Box game. DOA3 is pretty cool.

Or perhaps Pink Floyd - The Wall on DVD. That's some interesting stuff right there! I highly recommend it.

Re:Early post. (-1)

Guns n' Roses Troll (207208) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883681)

I'd get "Snatch" and "Lock, Stock & 2 Smoking Barrels" on DVD.

Re:Early post. (-1)

MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM (537317) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883697)

Buy yourself a handgun and rob the cash registers. That would be a pretty good investment.



    • MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM


Is there a real market for this? (-1)

notbob (73229) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883471)

Who's honestly going to buy one of these???

Re:Is there a real market for this? (2, Interesting)

rhdwdg (29954) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883566)

I could. The form factor is the thing. I could use a few extra CPUs in a MOSIX cluster for my desktop, but I have no room for a small rack and associated power. This fits. I could make them into little application clusters -- 256 MB of flash is plenty per device. I could wish they had GigE, of course (since they obviously need to connect to NAS for data) or multiple NICs per system but even 100 Mb is sufficient for the intended markets.

Damn... (-1, Offtopic)

jargoone (166102) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883473)

A hat trick, and I wasn't even trying...

Re:Damn... (-1)

Tasty Beef Jerky (543576) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883580)

A pessimist beat an optimist! How do you like them apples?

However, in honor of your near hat-trick, I will supply you with a haiku.

I can not see him
I think you are going nuts
Acid trips are bad

Re:Damn... (0, Offtopic)

jargoone (166102) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883647)

I guess that one hit post. Almost though. Thanks for the kind words, and thoughtful haiku. I'd better start whoring again, or I won't see mod points for a while.

Re:Damn... (-1)

Tasty Beef Jerky (543576) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883664)

Go to it, and feel secure in the knowledge that you have been added to my friends list.

Re:Damn... (0, Offtopic)

SpookComix (113948) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883751)

And you've been added to mine. My, what a lovely circle jerk we've got going!

--SC

Expensive (1)

merauder (518514) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883474)

but sounds interesting none the least.

Linux not ready for the desktop [was Re:Expensive] (0, Troll)

M$Marketing (553015) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883684)

I agree. I don't see how Linux will ever be ready for the desktop. First of all it's expensive. The actually costs of upgrading hardware is not reasonable. Secondly, who is going to spend time programming software that they can't sell? It's great for people who need to learn about what is out there, but there just aren't any options available. Third, this whole article reaks of hypocrisy. They say Linux is free and runs better than our products, yet you have to upgrade to use the desktop. With our OS, you don't need more than one processor to use the desktop. It's just not practical to use Linex.

Re:Linux not ready for the desktop [was Re:Expensi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2883830)

quite interesting how no version of windows can do what linux does, example is today's topic.. 8 way clustering.. xp? nope, 2000 nope.. another example of how Microsoft is becoming a bloated toy not useful to anyone anymore.. what happened to the innovation? what happened to actually trying? Ms quit back in 1995 trying to innovate or put out quality. and Linux will overtake it this year.

yup, ms loses in 2002. it will be a grand sight indeed!

Re:Linux not ready for the desktop [was Re:Expensi (2, Interesting)

r00tdenied (540333) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883901)

Cost of upgrading what? Did you even read the article? This is a CLUSTER, not your run-of-the-mill desktop or workstation. I could get linux to easily run on an old 486 motherboard that is somewhere in the bottom of my closet.


If any OS is expensive due to upgrades, it is definately Micro$oft OS's. Can you see Windows XP running on a 486 33 mhz? I thought not.


Additionally linux cost a LOT less to administer by IT shops than Microsoft operating systems. With Microsoft operating systems, you have to *click* here, *click* in this text field,etc. I could have ipchains up and running fast than you could have NAT running on Windows2000.


However, this cluster is a great solution to a lot of problems. It would definately free up colocation rack space, and make it easier to do virtual hosting.


r00tdenied

mmmmmmmmmm (1)

vulgarDPS (525551) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883479)

I heard that the new thing will be putting a hundred procs on a board instead of designing a better arcitecture for the processor itself. This is the new intel modow. Everyone hop on board.

The Turd Report 01/22/2002 (-1)

The Turd Report (527733) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883482)

I have been eating too much fast food as of late. I had two Whoppers w/ cheese and no lettuce. They were good. My turd this morning was very hard. It felt like a rock. Pushing this one out actually hurt. It had a larger than usual diameter, about 2.5 inches across. It was not that long, only about 6 inches and it was in two pieces. It was a generic brown color and smelled like fish oil. I give this turd a score of 6.

I would like to use this part of the Report to talk about an observation/comment that I had this morning while driving in to work. (And to take my 'Good Morning!' poop) Are the little soccer ball decals on the back windows of various SUVs and mini-vans the International I-can-not-drive-for-shit Symbol? I appreciate that they give us a heads up with these stickers, but should they be on the road in the first place? If your SUV is too big for you to keep in it's lane, you should not be driving it. If you can't park your mini-van between the lines in a parking spot, get a compact. If you dive your SUV over speed bumps at 5 MPH, you should be beaten.

Re:The Turd Report 01/22/2002 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2883737)

If this it the 3rd report, then where is the first and where is the second?

Virtual vs physical (1)

mcspock (252093) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883485)

Why would you want 8 virtual machines when you can have 8 physical machines? Isn't the whole point faster processing in a cluster?

Re:Virtual vs physical (2, Insightful)

f00zbll (526151) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883543)

I don't know much about building a cluster, but I thought one of the limiting factors of clusters is network latency. If they have it all on the same motherboard, or designed their own bridge to connect multiple CPU/MB, it would be faster right?

By the fact that they are all incased in the same box, rather than connected via a switch, it has less distance to travel. I don't know that 5 feet of CAT5 could make that big of a difference. On the otherhand, they could have designed a different way of bridging the systems and dramatically reduce latency. In either case, it is intriguing.

Virtual macines??? (5, Insightful)

TheAwfulTruth (325623) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883487)

The purpose of running clusters is to increase processing power and/or fail-safety. How is running 8 virtual machines in any way a "less sexy" version of an 8 CPU cluster?

Re:Virtual macines??? (1)

whirred (182193) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883494)

Ah, but you are missing the true beauty of this. Just wait until I setup my beowolf cluster of these boxes, and you will realize the fail-safety and processing power increases.

Yes, I just said BEWOLF CLUSTER of these boxes.

O dammit! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2883544)

A "BEWOLF CLUSTER sic)" still won't help your spelling.

Cluster == sexy (1)

iamr00t (453048) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883540)

It let's you point at your P100 laptop and say - that's my cluster, I do some SETI on it :)

Re:Cluster == sexy (0, Offtopic)

CoJoNEs (73698) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883561)

I do my seti on a p75 laptop
I think its sexy.

Re:Virtual macines??? (5, Funny)

PD (9577) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883552)

Maybe I want to develop software for a Beowulf cluster, but either I don't have a cluster of my own, or I just want to write the software, not run it in production. Either way, a set of 8 virtual processors would be good enough for the job.

Re:Virtual macines??? (4, Interesting)

PD (9577) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883582)

I just thought of something else. I have never used a Beowulf cluster, so maybe I'm completely wrong, but virtual machines could make a Beowulf more easily upgradeable. The idea is that you'd make a cluster with a whole bunch of virtual machines, say 1024. The cluster is fixed at that size for all the software that runs. But in reality, you've got 32 processors actually running. When you upgrade the cluster to 64, you don't need to reconfigure any of the software that runs on the cluster, because they all assume that you've got 1024 processors. But, you get a performance increase because there's now more physical processors. As I said before, I don't know much about clusters. I imagine that somebody who really does know will quickly either confirm what I said or reduce my idea to a pile of stinking rubble.

Re:Virtual macines??? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2883597)

You are a dumbass

Re:Virtual macines??? (3, Interesting)

cweber (34166) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883708)

You're mostly off the mark, I'm afraid. Most software that uses a cluster runs through MPI or simply through scripts. Both mechanisms allow for easy adjustment in the number of nodes/CPUs you use.

Many large compute problems are embarassingly parallel, i.e. the same calculation needs to be repeated with slightly different input parameters. There's basically no interprocess communication, just a little forethought about filenaming conventions, total disk and memory usage, etc.
Execution of such tasks reduces essentially to a simple loop:
foreach parameter_set
rsh nodeN myprog outfileM
end

For those programs that actually run a single instance of the code on several CPUs, you have to be acutely aware of how many nodes you use. Your code has its own limits on how well it scales to multiple CPUs, and your cluster imposes limits on how well (in terms of latency and bandwidth) nodes can communicate. Very few codes in this world scale well beyond 64 CPUs, especially not on run-of-the-mill clusters with plain ethernet interconnects. Fortunately, it is trivial to readjust the number of nodes used for each invocation of the code.

Lastly, virtual nodes cannot easily simulate the behavior of real nodes. Again, it's the interconnect latency and bandwidth. When it comes to supercomputing, only trust what you have run and measured on a real life setup with your own code and input data.

Re:Virtual macines??? (2)

Perdo (151843) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883725)

A beowulf cluster operating system could expose a standerdized set of API's to an application if no matter how many processors it had it told the application that it had 1024 but the application could not then be optimized for the actual hardware it is running on. KLAT2's applications were optimized to take advantage of the 3DNow! extentions which Trippled the effective processing power of their cluster. Just like Direct X provides API's to applications for standardization does not come close to what could be achieved hand codeing machine language to the x86 hardware. Look at the applications being run on clusters now and you will see that most are cash poor but manpower and entusiasm heavy. If they could afford 3 times as much hardware to achieve the same performance they would have ordered expencive big iron from IBM. Also not that 1024 processors limits the scalability of the cluster. The real Idea is to force hundreds of commodity machines to act like a single processor

Re:Virtual macines??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2883585)

The purpose of running clusters is to increase processing power and/or fail-safety. How is running 8 virtual machines in any way a "less sexy" version of an 8 CPU cluster?

As you pointed out, increasing fail safety is one of the reasons for using clusters. If you had a cluster of virtual machines running on a single machine, the machine's hardware is a single point of failure (unless you're using extravagent hardware with a backup motherboard, power supply, etc. but that doesn't qualify as "middle-of-the-road hardware" IMO).

Hey (1, Offtopic)

Guitarzan (57028) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883492)

Can I get a Beowulf clu......um, nevermind.

No, but.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2883533)

Imagine reading Beowulf [alcyone.com] while listening to the hum from a cluster of these....

Re:Hey (2, Funny)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883668)

Sure, why not. If an 'internet' is a network of networks, we should be able to build a cluster of clusters. One cluster calculates the reality I'm flying thru while another one calculates the effects of the nuclear device I just heaved, both feed into the headmounted 3D stereo graphics processor with surround sound audio helmet on the hydraulically actuated platform, while an input/output cluster handles sim data from the other players over the fibre channel...

Off Topic? (0, Offtopic)

DebtAngel (83256) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883705)

Redundant, maybe, but off-topic> ?!?!?!?

Re:Off Topic? (1)

Guitarzan (57028) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883780)

Oh well, I don't understand it either. It's only a silly ./ post...

Sexy...? (0, Offtopic)

grahamsz (150076) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883493)

I'm sorry but it's just a big red box.

I can see why mac systems are stylish and perhaps 'sexy' but this is just big and red.

Although red is better than beige i guess.

Can you imagine (-1, Redundant)

dperkins (63220) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883500)

A beowolf cluster of these?

Sorry, I have just seen this post so many times in the past that I couldn't resist bringing it up.
Seriously, though, this would beat the pants off of my overclocked celeron 300a (to 450 - and it's been running that way for over two years) and I could serve up web pages even faster to the 3 people that connect to my site... :(

Re:Can you imagine (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2883537)

A beowolf cluster of these? Sorry, I have just seen this post so many times in the past that I couldn't resist bringing it up.

If you've really seen this post many times, then you should know that it's spelled "beowulf". You're a troll wannabe.

Re:Can you imagine (1)

dperkins (63220) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883833)

You're right. Just a wannabe. Sorry, I'll have to make sure my stupid posts are at least Spelled correctly! :)

My Bad!

Re:Can you imagine (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2883680)

Nope, but can you imagine a beowulf cluster of Karma Whores?

Imagine!!! (-1, Redundant)

Rostoff (549205) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883502)

oh, crap... nevermind :)

- 8 - 800MHz Celerons? (2, Flamebait)

qurob (543434) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883522)


So, it's about equal to my dual Athlon 2000+?

Re: - 8 - 800MHz Celerons? (1)

morcheeba (260908) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883637)

Uh, no.

2*20008*800
40006400

Of course, the dual athlon kicks butt for many applications (I know, I use one!), but it all comes down to the needs. What would be cool is if low cost dual athlon boards (ala tyan tiger) were substituted (8*2*2000 = 32000, or 5 times faster)... but then the whole thing would just melt with the heat. I do like the embedded flash/diskless aspect of the system, though. Its a simple cluster in a nice box.

Re: use RLX tech Crusoe systems! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2883773)

forget this thing, buy something from RLX Technologies [rlxtechnologies.com] and get similar CPU power while saving a -bundle- on power and cooling costs!

Re: - 8 - 800MHz Celerons? (3, Interesting)

qurob (543434) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883838)

Although I'm joking, let's just take a look at some numbers, hypothetically speaking.

*borrowed from Tom's Hardware*

Linux Compiling Test

3.35 minutes for a Athlon XP 2000+
14.2 minutes for a Intel Celeron 800mhz

(now, here's where we stretch it)

Figure 1.7 minutes for a dual Athlon XP 2000+, 50% of the other time.

1.7 x 8 = 13.6 minutes


But, who really compiles with a cluster, really?

It'd still be faster....At least on a few benchmarks, and at least in theory

Wow... what a markup! (4, Funny)

eaglej (552473) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883523)

Yeah, it's a nice compact little box... But they're pulling in a phat few g's on each box. I'll build my own, thank you very much.

Replace the Celerons with Tbirds... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2883524)

And you could toast some smores on it!

Why is Timothy badmouthing... (3, Troll)

SpookComix (113948) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883539)

...the articles he posts? Tim, baby, if you don't like or agree with the article, either don't post it or keep your opinion to yourself.

I know I'll get modded down for this, but here's an example:

Posted by timothy on Tuesday January 22, @02:45PM
JackBlack tells us about the "unbelievable deal you can get at KMart [bluelight.com] on all their overstocked computers and periphials! You won't believe the kind of prices on these things! I don't know about you people, but I'd rather swallow Draino than buy boxen from Big K! But, shit, whatever, I guess.

Timothy is his own conflict of interest.

What is happening to Slashdot these days?

--SC

Re:Why is Timothy badmouthing... (0, Offtopic)

nomadic (141991) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883629)

I can see where you're coming from, but in this case he followed up his negative comment with an actual link to another method of clustering. So it's more than a compare and contrast than just a statement then anti-statement.

Re:Why is Timothy badmouthing... (1)

baronben (322394) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883688)

Conflict of intrest only happens, I belive, when the diffrence of intrests can or does effect the outcome. Since Timmy is posting the artical, it means that even though he doesn't agree with it, he still thinks that it falls under the "news for nerds" part of /. (Something tells me this isn't "Stuff that matters".) If he, say, didn't post this story because the cluster wasn't sexy enough, then it would be a conflict of intrest.

Re:Why is Timothy badmouthing... (1)

gimple (152864) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883771)

Knowing I will probably burn some Karma... It is interesting that these guys always have some smarmy comment to make after every article. Couldn't they just post the damn thing?

Re:Why is Timothy badmouthing... (1)

BlowCat (216402) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883872)

Wow! Timothy refused to advertize KMart on Slashdot. As a result, KMart filed for Chapter 11.

Required comment (-1, Redundant)

Ween (13381) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883546)

Imagine a beowulf cluster of these...

oh wait.

under engineered. (5, Funny)

azephrahel (193559) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883550)


I'm sorry, but for that price this is way under engineered. The origonal bewulf cluster was made with components on par, for the day, as the celeron modle of the redstone, for far less. If your going to spend the time and money building and marketing systems like this, they could have done a better job. They suck mobos in a big case and eth linked them togeather. Call me crazy but I think for that much money you could get a small backplane, 8 industrial PC's (powerpc/copermine/whatever on a pci card each w/its own memory) toss em in and spend the rest of your "engineering" budget, making a patch to the kernel for reliable communication over the bus, instead of slow eth connections.

besides with the speed advantages shared memory brings to multiprocessing a quad xenon would probably outpreform this.. deffinately a quad proc ultrasparc but those are pricey even used...

Re:under engineered. (3, Insightful)

benedict (9959) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883586)

Sure, you could build it yourself, and your
hardware cost would be lower.

But what about the cost of your time, in terms of
dealing with vendors, putting machines together,
testing them, integrating them, and testing again?

I'm guessing these machines come with support, too,
though I can't tell because their web site is
Slashdotted.

Re:under engineered. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2883614)

I agree, no doubt a dual athlon 2000+ with DDR memory would perform better. Maybe if they used higher speed celerons or even the new .13 micron p3 (1.13 ghz and higher)

Re:under engineered. (2)

mpe (36238) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883863)

If your going to spend the time and money building and marketing systems like this, they could have done a better job. They suck mobos in a big case and eth linked them togeather.

But for some reason chose a midi tower, rather than a 4U rackmount.

Rack Density (2, Interesting)

Genady (27988) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883554)

So... how many processors can you fit into a standard 44U enclosure now? If they've got an integral Ethernet switch do you get a gigabit uplink out? This would actually be really cool for Universities/Government Agencies to build insanely great clusters with small floor space. Still if you want insanely great maybe you should cluster a few briQ's [terrasoftsolutions.com] together.

Terrasoft, briQs, PPC, 4-8 nodes... (5, Informative)

tcyun (80828) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883571)

I saw a quick demo of a multi-noded briQ [terrasoftsolutions.com] (by Terrasoft Solutions) at SC2001 [sc2001.org] a few months ago and was very impressed. The ability to leverage the power of the PPC in vast numbers (and in a very small form factor) was incredible. I wonder how these would do in a head to head competition?

They offer a 4-8 node tower running 500 MHz G3 or G4 CPUs and drawing "roughly 240 watts per 8 nodes (less than a dual-processor Pentium-based system)." Quite impressive.

Re:Terrasoft, briQs, PPC, 4-8 nodes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2883812)

The briQ (accd to the web site) are $1500/node
for the G3's and $2000/node for the G4's.

Therefore, for $4500, you get a 3 node G3
package. This is not including interconnections
between briQs.

They have a 8node box (sans briQs for $2000)
plus 8 g3 briQs puts it at $18,000 total.

This is clearly a lot more expensive than
the advertised model.

Here's what I'd much rather see (2, Insightful)

S. Allen (5756) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883573)

I'd like to have see chips that incorporate the CPU, RAM and something equivalent to the North+South bridge. Motherboards should be designed to take 1-32 of these plugged into some godawfulfast bus. CPU and RAM should be one in the same and scale together. RAM co-located w/ the CPU would be much, much faster. Most systems and applications can scale with more threads or CPU's. CPU's by themselves are just about as fast as they need to be for any task that cannot be divided into multiple threads (I'm not talking about poorly written progams). This whole getup would be significantly more elegant, reduce parts and complexity and probably be cheaper to produce in the long-run.

I don't see this as the same as a system-on-a-chip. With those, you're integrating video and audio. I'd either rather NOT see that integrated at all or have a portion of this new CPU combo thingy incorporate a DSP or FPGA region(s).

Whoa, time to put down the crack pipe.

only 100mbps? (4, Interesting)

Restil (31903) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883575)

The primary disadvantage of clustering is the network bottleneck. You lose out because even 100mbps is only a small fraction of what the pci bus of even low end pentium systems are able to handle. At LEAST go with gigabit ethernet so you can push over 100 megs per second between processors. This will greatly increase the usefulness of an integrated cluster by decreasing the one primary disadvantage.

Also a bit pricey, but there would be some cost advantage in reduced footprint for some environments.

-Restil

Re:only 100mbps? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2883733)

FYI: When you are at the 1G range, the amount of CPU overhead become significant... You might be able to get close to 100 megs but no where OVER 100 megs as stated.

Re:only 100mbps? (1)

cweber (34166) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883749)

GigE won't help much because you're still stuck with ethernet's awful latency. Last time we shopped for supercomputers, cluster solutions lost out because of this, even with pricey Myrinet, Via or other high-end interconnects.

Re:only 100mbps? (1)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883877)

You are correct, but it all depends on one's application. Latency may or may not be a big factor in one's application. If it isn't, then you can easily save thousands of dollars with a cluster.

Re:only 100mbps? (2)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883853)

being in the same box I wonder why they didn't use U160 scsi for comms. hell you can have 16 nodes on a SCSI bus nowdays and transferring data between 8 machines and the array of shared drives would make it scream like a raped ape.

hell we use that kind of setup for spitting 24 mpeg2 streams out for commercial insertion from pentium 166's

Re:only 100mbps? (2)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883896)

Do you have any information on setting up a shared SCSI bus like this? I'd be very interested in doing it, but I have not been able to find any information about it.

gigs at vt dot edu

Re:only 100mbps? (2, Insightful)

mpe (36238) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883884)

The primary disadvantage of clustering is the network bottleneck. You lose out because even 100mbps is only a small fraction of what the pci bus of even low end pentium systems are able to handle. At LEAST go with gigabit ethernet so you can push over 100 megs per second between processors. This will greatly increase the usefulness of an integrated cluster by decreasing the one primary disadvantage

Depends on the application in question. There are many parallel processing tasks which do not need massive communication between processors. Effectivly each processor simply gets on with it's task on it's own.

Got a new tool (-1)

CmderTaco (533794) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883593)

A page lengthening tool!!!
7 [goatse.cx]
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already posted (1)

Brightest Light (552357) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883595)

i believe this was already posted a few weeks ago.

Explain this to me (1)

CrayzyJ (222675) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883605)

How is 8 800MHx Celerons sexy?

So much for eating your own dogfood... (1)

ncc74656 (45571) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883615)

...or maybe it's something else (bandwidth?), but it looks like they're slashdotted.

AOL! So Much porn NO WondER ItS #1 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2883626)

I REAlly like to look at porn.
I cAN'T hOLD a jOB aND mY wIFE
jUST lEFT mE tO lIVE wITH hER mOTHER.
!yOU'VE yOT pORN!lOL!!!lOL!!"
A0L!!! l0L0L
sO eASY tO uSE, sPAM, lOOK aT pORN
tRADE wAREZ, dOWNLOAD bRITNEY sPEARS
cHAT wITH uNDERAGE gIRLS, lOOK aT mORE pORN
NO wONDER iT'S nUMBER 1!!!l0L!!!
ascii spork

Virtual clusters? (2)

Lxy (80823) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883628)

you can also run a cluster of Linux (virtual) machines on your desktop

So you're suggesting that I divide my machine into 8 virtual machines and then cluster them for uber fun? Figuring the extra latency, wouldn't it be faster to just leave it alone?

Re:Virtual clusters? (2)

athakur999 (44340) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883784)

The point isn't gaining speed, it's gaining reliability and maintainability. Instead of one PC being your email, database, proxy, etc. server, you create a virtual machine for each one.

If you need to upgrade the kernel on your email server, you can just reboot that virtual machine and leave your database, proxy, etc. servers untouched. If a process goes wild on your database server it'll only screw with that service and not your email, proxy, etc.

Clustering under VM is....pretty dumb (3, Informative)

CDWert (450988) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883642)

Clustering under vserver scheme is pretty dumb, if it was in fact meant to be serious.

vservers assume that a machine has resources avaiable and that no one instance is consuming 100% of the systems resources. Application built for utilization under a cluster would most likey CONSUME 100% quickly and easily, otherwise why run them under a cluster in the first place ????

I do like their monitor applet, its pretty coll for basic cluster managment/monitoring.

At the same time all you people complaining about price...lets see

800mhz cele w256 meg each MB, NIC and whatever storage, lets say on the cheap $300 each

4 350 Watt PS $100

Ok a really cool case and PS

Time to load software, lets say weve done it before and it take 8 hours

Physical Assembly and testing 5 hours

My bill rate and personal time is worth 120/hr
$1560
Hardware $2400
Power Supply $ 100
Mildy cool case$ 100

THAT COMES TO 4160, Hell, add to that I dont have to build the SOB AND it comes under warranty , you betch you A** Id buy one of these

PLEASE think before you gripe about prices...
Looks like a deal to me ....

PS, Kernel version is 2.4.12 from what I saw on their link to products showing a screen shot Ayeee.....

Re:Clustering under VM is....pretty dumb (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2883843)

My bill rate and personal time is worth 120/hr

Bullshit. You might bill $120/hour, but there is no way you're worth it.

Re:Clustering under VM is....pretty dumb (1)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883917)

So you make $250,000 a year?

For those of us who's time is worth a little less than $120/hr, it's a pretty good deal to just build our own.

I'm building my own 6 node, Duron 950 for a total hardware cost of $1300. That could have just as easily been 8 nodes for $1700, had I the money to spend on two more nodes.

Cool software (1)

Ksop (132400) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883650)

I may not have the $4.5K to buy the box but that software looks spiff. The java demo of the cluster monitoring was realy cool. How about I get a stack of these [tigerdirect.com] and use the free software.

Yeah yeah network speed blah blah. Let a man dream!

Re:Cool software (2)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883934)

Please never order from TigerDirect. Check the BBB record on them and resellerratings.com. They are the target of many consumer lawsuits, and have a terrible record.

The Needed Ingredient (2)

4of12 (97621) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883659)


OK, the price for these kinds of things is really nice and low. Low enough to make anyone in the numerically-intensive computing arena really want something like this.

(However, I probably wouldn't want one of these as my desktop machine if the power supplies took more current than a typical wall outlet, if it made as much noise as a helicopter taking off, and if heated up my cubicle to 92 F.)

But the key ingredient in my mind is making these distributed boxes more conveniently usable, much like those 64-way big boxes from Sun and SGI.

How far along are MOSIX, Scyld's products, others(?) that make these distributed clusters have a nice Single System Image?

A Cheaper Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2883663)

$4500? WTF For? How much could a motherboard/processor combo w/ memory possibly cost for 800mhz celerons? You could build one of these w/ a custom case for $1000

1U servers anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2883672)

Hmm. 8x800MHz, not quite rack-mount, about 10U high, $4,500. Why not just buy eight rack-mount PCs and an Ethernet switch? You can do so for approximately the same cost and have fully independent PCs, nothing particularly proprietary, plus you can have as many as you want instead of groups of eight.

Re:1U servers anyone? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883870)

because 8 1u servers and a switch would cost MORE than this.

this is really cheap for what they are selling. you cannot reproduce it for less.

Stupidity Effect (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2883682)

Damn $4500 for this crap? That is basically $560 for a computer worth no more than $250.

And what is the deal with the slashmorons thinking that a virtual cluster some how fills the role of a HIGH PERFORMANCE PARALLEL CLUSTER. Do these people know about anything they yammer about?

I can crash it (1)

T3kno (51315) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883698)


#!/usr/bin/perl

how_about_a_beowolf_of_these();

sub how_about_a_beowolf_of_these {
fork();
how_about_a_beowolf_of_these();
}

Re:I can crash it (1)

rjamestaylor (117847) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883761)

Remind me not to hire you...

Do-it-Yourself Cheap Clusters (3, Funny)

ChaoticCoyote (195677) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883701)

I've been building my cluster from various remaindered/cast-off/refurbished machines I find. Computer Geeks [compgeeks.com] is a good source.

Load balancing is frelling difficult, but I've been doing some solid parallel programming work that translates nicely to "real" clusters. I'd love to buy one of the Rocket Calc boxes -- but I can make a darned nice box for a lot less money with more processing power, if I'm willing to have cables and such all over the place.

The only real cluster-related problem I have is my lovely wife. She's one of those people who want things to "match" (so why in frell did she marry me?), and my "heterogenous" cluster just isn't very aesthetic. She just doesn't understand that the cluster's job is to compute, not to look pretty!

Then again, the Rocket Calc machines are attractive, and the color would go with the living room furniture...

How does it do itt? (1)

kzadot (249737) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883779)

What I want to know, is how does the software manage to leverage the use of the cluster. They mention that programs wont need to be changed to take advantage of the clustering. How can this be? It doesn't mention much about this Houston software that seems to handle it. Usually applications have to be especially written for clustering. The website also doesn't seem to mention what tasks this system is really good for.

Two Questions (2)

fm6 (162816) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883846)

(1) Since this is all about high-performance computing, why use Celerons?

(2) Why is it taking so long for someone to make the obligatory "Imagine..." post?

whatever. (2)

jonbrewer (11894) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883867)

To run multiple linux instances on one "middle of the road" server, you need VMWare GSX [vmware.com] . It ain't free. In fact, it's $3,550.00. (there goes your "a lot less money" idea, T.)

As for the value of this product, I see it clearly. Not all computational problems need high data throughput between nodes. And their Redstone-A product gives you an 8 node PIII 1Ghz cluster with 4GB of ram for $6000. And all the networking set up and ready to go. Give it to your Scientist and they don't need to know jack about network or configuration, they just treat it like another unix workstation.

When I think of the ~ $20k each we spend on Sun and SGI workstations for our scientists, I cringe. This I wouldn't (won't?) think twice about buying.

a desktop renderfarm (2)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883900)

You know when spielberg said that the next big smash wont be from him or some big studio but it will be from a woman named buffy from idaho. This brings that possibility one step closer. I can see this as a renderman render farm or even just an effects renderfarm for some of the effects the AVID generates.

gimmie 2 of these, an AVID, and a $200,000.00 camera and lens you've got the next ET on your hands... (Nooo not cheech and chongs Extra Testicle get your mind out of the gutter)

it's getting there where the general schmuck has the power that hollywood does.

SGI flashbacks? (1)

qurob (543434) | more than 12 years ago | (#2883932)


To me, this almost looks like a combination of various old SGI systems.

So THAT makes it COOL.
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