[GE users] Execution hosts: Blades vs Individual Servers

tmac tmacmd at gmail.com
Wed Jul 30 01:08:57 BST 2008

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Sounds like what I have....

My older machines were all dual cpu w/ hyperthreading and 4 Gig of
ram. I think they wer older 533Mhz FSB type with Xeon processors.

On those machines "4" processes could fill a 1 - gigE pipe.

When the new systems came in, they have 2 x quad-core cpus and 16GB or ram.

Since I knew the throughput of 4 jobs could fill a 1 gig pipe, I decided to:

1. Use RHEL5-64 bit and utilize XEN as part of RHEL5
2. Make two guests, each guest containing 4 CPUS, 7.4Gig of RAM and 1 GigE
(each GigE is on a different VLAN to prevent routing issues)
3. Kickstart the whole thing

My kickstart: installs a system with XEN, partitions two LVs for the
guests, creates a "runonce" script
that, upon reboot creates the two XEN guests. Unfortunately, I have
not scripted a process to watch for the
guests to terminate themselves (during the first reboot of a XEN
guest, it actually "powers off") and then restart them.
However, manually restarting them will then finish the install and
install the Grid software.

This config works real well. The new hardware is 4-5 times faster now.
Between using 64-bit OS's and more RAM, the faster CPU's really help.
The "clock" speed may be the same, but the Front side bus and all the
interconnects are significantly faster
than all the old stuff.

hope this helps...


RedHat Certified Engineer #804006984323821 (RHEL4)
RedHat Certified Engineer #805007643429572 (RHEL5)

Principal Consultant

On Tue, Jul 29, 2008 at 8:13 AM, Darin Perusich
<Darin.Perusich at cognigencorp.com> wrote:
> Neil Baker wrote:
>> I was wondering if anyone could recommend a manufacturer and machine type
>> for our new grid's execution hosts?
> I've been using systems from Penguin Computing in my cluster for about 6
> years with great success, specifically their Relion series of systems. If
> performance and raw CPU speed are what you're looking for they're typically
> first to market with the fastest chips when compared to other venders, at
> least the venders I've looked at. You can also custom order the systems
> however you'd like, I jack up the memory and drop the drives to run them
> diskless.
>> I've heard that although they don't run as fast as 3GHz, they are in fact
>> more powerful for floating point calculation, so would they process the jobs
>> faster even though running slower?
> This was a concern of mine initially until I got one and did some
> benchmarking. One of the main applications we run does nonlinear mixed
> effect modeling and basically lives in the floating point processor during
> execution and the performance gains were impressive.
> I took a job with a run time of 3 hours 30 minutes on an Intel Xeon 3.8Ghz
> systems and when I ran it on a dual-proc/dual-core Intel XEON 5160 running
> at 3.00GHz the job only took 2 hours and 4 minutes. I ran 4 instances of the
> same job, one/core, with no performance loss.
>  From what I've read and various stats I've seen,
>> benchmarks show how a Dual Core CPU is more powerful than a single core
>> machine for running one application (i.e. a game or a particular benchmark),
>> but I can't seem to find any data on how well they work at running one
>> application (job) per CPU (i.e. 2 jobs on a dual core, or 4 jobs on a quad
>> core).
> --
> Darin Perusich
> Unix Systems Administrator
> Cognigen Corporation
> 395 Youngs Rd.
> Williamsville, NY 14221
> Phone: 716-633-3463
> Email: darinper at cognigencorp.com
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