[Beowulf] Re: MS Cray

Gus Correa gus at ldeo.columbia.edu
Wed Sep 17 18:15:56 PDT 2008

Hello David and other Beowulf fans

Please, correct me if I am wrong.

Looking at the Cray CX1 promotional materials (brochure, movie, 
I've got the impression that it is just a nicely packed set of blade nodes,
with GigE and IB, not very different from many clusters, except for 
layout and price.
They don't say it would work as a single SMP machine, for instance, as 
David speculated it might.
Apparently it is not free even from cable connections, since the back of the
node chassis look pretty standard, with GigE and IB ports, USB, etc.
However, the enclosure may have a backplane that doesn't appear on the 

Windows is the suggested OS, but they say it can run RHEL or Suse (Suse 
is mentioned only on the movie).
The movie has the expected blurb about ease of use, low sys admin 
requirement, etc.

Quad- and dual- core Xeon processors can be chosen from.
There are five node options: single-socket and dual-socket computing 
node options,
two storage node options (4 or 8 disks), and a viz node option (with 
NVidia Quadro FX4600).
The brochure says the basic power supply (for one enclosure, I presume) 
is 1600W,
but you need two to be "fully populated", and there are options for 
redundant PS (1+1 or 2+2).
I presume eight dual-socket quad-core compute blades would require two 
active PS, right?
A lot of power for office environment.
The machine can be used as deskside (for +$520) or rackmounted.

After I configured it with eight dual-slot quad-core Xeon E5472 (3.0GHz) 
compute nodes,
2GB/core RAM,  IPMI,  12-port DDR IB switch (their smallest),
MS Windows installed, with one year standard 9-5 support, and onsite 
the price was over $82k.
It sounds pricey to me, for an 8 node cluster.
Storage or viz node choices, 24-port IB to connect to other enclosures, 
are even more expensive.

Gus Correa

Gustavo J. Ponce Correa, PhD - Email: gus at ldeo.columbia.edu
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory - Columbia University
P.O. Box 1000 [61 Route 9W] - Palisades, NY, 10964-8000 - USA

David Mathog wrote:

>Getting back to the original subject, what would this Cray box "look
>like" when it is running windows?  Does it show up as one desktop for
>everything (basically an SMP machine), one desktop per blade, one per
>processor(or core), or even virtualized, with more than one desktop per
>core?  In terms of administering the box the first of these would be by
>far the easiest to deal with, since there would only be the one copy of
>Windows present.
>David Mathog
>mathog at caltech.edu
>Manager, Sequence Analysis Facility, Biology Division, Caltech
>Beowulf mailing list, Beowulf at beowulf.org
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