[Beowulf] Re: Interesting google server design

Bob Drzyzgula bob at drzyzgula.org
Fri Apr 3 07:18:28 PDT 2009

On 01/04/09 18:59 -0700, Ellis Wilson wrote:
> Beyond that, building an entire cluster of that size into a large 
> shipping container is genius - given access and resources to a crane and 
> proper machining expertise.  But then again if your building a cluster 
> of that size I suppose the crane, shipping container and a few welders 
> are not going to be your biggest worries.
> Also interesting is that they use Gigabyte - I haven't been entirely 
> impressed with them and that is for purely desktop use.  Perhaps their 
> server grade boards are better quality enough to make them worthwhile at 
> that scale.
> Ellis

We've used Gigabyte on the desktop on and off for years,
and have never had any trouble with them; our current and
about-to-be-ordered next-generation production boards
are from them.  For servers OTOH we're now replacing
some Intel OEM systems with some Supermicros, but that's
partly because those companies sold very nice rack mount
enclosures to go with them.

One interesting thing to me is the part number on the
Gigabyte board, which appears to be GA-9IVDP. This isn't
listed on Gigabyte's website (I expect it's a custom
design for Google) but they do have a few models with
the designation GA-9IVD*; the way Gigabyte's part numbers
run these boards would at a minimum use the same processor
technology, which happens to be the 800MHz FSB Socket 604.
Doing a Google news search, it would appear that
the GA-9IVD* motherboards were released in May of 2005
(and they are server-class boards, FWIW)

This is consistent with the article's claim that Google has
been using this design since 2005; however they also say
that they are in the "sixth or seventh generation" of
this design, and that they have used both Intel and AMD
processors. Thus, I wouldn't be so sure that this is the
exact motherboard they are currently stuffing into those
shipping containers; more likely it is a copy of one of
their earlier builds.


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