[Beowulf] Re: newbie's dilemma / firewire? (Piskorski, Ropers-Huilman)

Ed Karns edkarns at firewirestuff.com
Mon Mar 6 11:29:54 PST 2006

On Mar 4, 2006, at 12:00 PM, beowulf-request at beowulf.org wrote:

>> ... page about it.  Is anyone even using Firewire as a network  
>> interconnect for real, anywhere?
> We are considering it as a test. If I do follow through on that I  
> will post some bandwidth and latency results for all to see.

For small file transfer between nodes, performance may be a wash,  
with EtherNet 1000baseT being easier to implement and more cost  
effective in some cases. However, the bulk file transfer rates for  
very large files via FireWire 400 (1394a) is significantly faster  
than 1000baseT and FireWire 800 (1394b) is more than 240% faster that  
GigaBit EtherNet.

See: http://www.linux1394.org/ and http://www.linux1394.org/ 
introduction.php and http://oss.oracle.com/projects/firewire/

For consideration: Alias' Maya CGI graphics rendering & 3D modeling  
software on multiple FireWire / IEEE 1394 connected systems.  
(FireWire 1394 is required for some 3D modeler software / hardware  
scenarios = http://www.sensable.com/products/Maya/ 
ClayTools_Maya_hardware.asp )

Implementation is a piece of cake, hardware wise, on several Apple  
Macs running either Linux or OSX. Stack 'em up, hook them as peer to  
peer via FireWire 3-port or 6-port hubs. Best performance is from  
less than 16 CPUs in a cluster, transparent bridging between multiple  
clusters is accomplished with added PCI or PCI Extreme port cards.

Ed Karns

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