Should Apple create its own cluster?

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
I was wondering if it would be a good idea for Apple to create its

own cluster when they come out with the G5 server. And I'm

talking about a cluster that is huge compared to VA Tech cluster.



5,000 dual processor G5 servers hooked up together & optimized

with apple's Xgrid technology. It would be a showcase that they

could use to promote mac clusters to other businesses, colleges,

& etc.



Costwise it would be cheap. They can get the servers at cost, plus

they could rent it out to FX companies, colleges, the government,

or anyone else that needs that kind of processing power. The free

press to having one of the largest clusters on the west coast would

be priceless.



I can just picture it now. Pixar rents it to render their next picture in

a fifth of the time that it would have taken with their render farm.

The DVD has a featurette showing the render farm & how kickass it is.



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 34
    screedscreed Posts: 1,077member
    5000 x $3000 = $15,000,000



    Fairly hefty showcase there. I think the Virginia Tech setup is the showcase (but not by Apple's expense). When the G5 Xserve does come out, Apple could use the VT setup and then claim it can be had for half (or a third or a quarter) of the space.



    Screed



    I just did the math. The G5 is 3044 cubic inches and the Xserve is 852. 3.57:1
  • Reply 2 of 34
    mellomello Posts: 555member
    How much is an xserve at cost?
  • Reply 3 of 34
    rhumgodrhumgod Posts: 1,289member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by mello

    How much is an xserve at cost?



    Probably not much less than a Dual MDD-PowerMac G4. Add in a few extra fans, LEDs, etc...my guess would be $1000-$1200.
  • Reply 4 of 34
    screedscreed Posts: 1,077member
    Currently the dual G4 Xserve costs $3800, so yes it costs more than the dual G5. However, that includes a copy of OS X (Unlimited). I'm sure VT got a discount on such a huge order.



    Heh. Could you imagine going to store.apple.com and entering 1100 into the quantity field?



    3 day FedEx shipping? Eleventy billion dollars.





    Screed
  • Reply 5 of 34
    rhumgodrhumgod Posts: 1,289member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by sCreeD

    Currently the dual G4 Xserve costs $3800, so yes it costs more than the dual G5. However, that includes a copy of OS X (Unlimited). I'm sure VT got a discount on such a huge order.



    Heh. Could you imagine going to store.apple.com and entering 1100 into the quantity field?



    3 day FedEx shipping? Eleventy billion dollars.





    Screed




    Configured with dual drives, a must:



    Item: Xserve Dual 1.33GHz

    Part No: Z09P

    Est Ship: 3-5 bus.days

    $ Each: $4,049.00

    Qty: 999 (the most you can enter)

    Total: $4,044,951.00





    Yeah, baby!
  • Reply 6 of 34
    screedscreed Posts: 1,077member
    From IT-Director.com



    Quote:

    Apple is not the company you normally think of when you hear the word "supercomputer", but nevertheless it can now count itself among the ranks of the supercomputing elite, courtesy of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute. Technicians and students at Virginia Tech have assembled a supercomputer using 1,100 64 bit G5 Apple Macs. In effect, they have linked together 2,200 IBM p5 chips and the result is a massive processing capability capable of 7.41 trillion operations per second.



    As far as supercomputers go, that makes it at least the fourth fastest in the world. Virginia Tech is still taking measurements and is suggesting that the final rating may be significantly greater. The three faster machines (in order) are the Japanese Earth Simulator, a machine at the Los Alamos Laboratory and one at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories.



    If you're thinking "so what?", the "so what" is that this computer was assembled in the space of about one month using a largely volunteer labour force and cost just a little over $5million. Compare that to the typical $100million to $250million and many months that it normally costs to assemble a world leading supercomputer. Supercomputers are normally put together slowly in a custom built manner that takes time and money - although the Lawrence Livermore system which has 2,304 Intel Xeon processors was also assembled on the cheap, with an estimated cost of somewhere between $10m to $15m. It is slightly faster than the Virginia Tech machine at 7.63 trillion operations per second.



    The decision to assemble the computer seems to have been almost a spontaneous act. Scientists from Virginia Tech met with Apple in June this year just after it launched its new screamingly fast 64 bit desktop and Apple agreed to provide the college with some of the first machines off the line. It turns out to have been a clever move by Apple that will undoubtedly increase its credibility in many areas outside academia.



    Screed
  • Reply 7 of 34
    mccrabmccrab Posts: 201member
    With the development of xGrid, what makes you think that they don't already have a sizeable cluster?
  • Reply 8 of 34
    machemmachem Posts: 319member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by McCrab

    With the development of xGrid, what makes you think that they don't already have a sizeable cluster?



    Like someone else said, they do have showcases: VT is one. Out here, they told me yesterday that UCD has two: One ~100 (Bioinformatics) node cluster, and one ~10 node (Food Science). They are aggressively pushing clustering. They all but promised me that they would beat anyone on price/performance when we build our new cluster (yeah, I know, they all say that, but they're walkin' the walk right now).



    If I get my promised tour of XGrid and existing clusters, I'll post my impressions.
  • Reply 9 of 34
    eugeneeugene Posts: 8,254member
    Apple needs to come up with server/workstation hardware that supports ECC RAM first...
  • Reply 10 of 34
    mellomello Posts: 555member
    MacRumors posted that Big Mac is up to 9.5 t-flops!



  • Reply 11 of 34
    mellomello Posts: 555member
    Does that Linpack testing take into account mac features like

    altivec & etc?
  • Reply 12 of 34
    bungebunge Posts: 7,329member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Rhumgod

    Configured with dual drives, a must:



    Item: Xserve Dual 1.33GHz

    Part No: Z09P

    Est Ship: 3-5 bus.days

    $ Each: $4,049.00

    Qty: 999 (the most you can enter)

    Total: $4,044,951.00





    Yeah, baby!




    Please turn off one-click shopping!
  • Reply 13 of 34
    mellomello Posts: 555member
    This was just posted on mac os rumors:



    Apple expecting major surge in cluster computing sales: According to reliable sources in Cupertino, Apple is hiring new staff to coordinate large-scale purchases of G5 systems (currently only PowerMacs of course, but soon to include Xserves and possibly the rumored Xstation) for use in clustering systems - scientific, educational, business, and governmental applications primarily.



    Documents recently acquired by rumors include a memo which states that "we now expect yearly systems sales directly attributable to clustering/grid computing applications to exceed 50,000 units in 2004 and 80,000 units in 2005." The memo goes on to state that indirect sales for systems that will distribute loads across multiple computers in less formal environments could eventually double those numbers. Xgrid, Apple's distributed computing technology suite, is under heavy development and Apple is hard at work on other aspects of its hardware and software lineup to take into account rapidly growing demand for these technologies -- not just industry-wide, but also very particularly in terms of consumer interest in Apple itself, following the much-publicized Virginia Tech G5-cluster supercomputer.
  • Reply 14 of 34
    kanekane Posts: 392member
    Apple should simply put 5 000 or more Dual Powermacs together in a big, big room and then simply install the [email protected] client on them. Can you say "Team Apple Computer for #1"?
  • Reply 15 of 34
    ast3r3xast3r3x Posts: 5,012member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by KANE

    Apple should simply put 5 000 or more Dual Powermacs together in a big, big room and then simply install the [email protected] client on them. Can you say "Team Apple Computer for #1"?



    After how many minutes
  • Reply 16 of 34
    henriokhenriok Posts: 537member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by mello

    Does that Linpack testing take into account mac features like

    altivec & etc?




    The etc part, yes, but AlitVec, no. IFAIK. There might be som cool stuff in IBM's compilers for doing autovectorizing of some things in Linpack, but I think that the numbers we see from the VT cluster is mostly the double FPUs talkng.
  • Reply 17 of 34
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Eugene

    Apple needs to come up with server/workstation hardware that supports ECC RAM first...



    Sorry, but I don't get this ... what's ECC ram, and if it's so important, why isn't it stopping Big Mac?



    Mr. Curious
  • Reply 18 of 34
    rhumgodrhumgod Posts: 1,289member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by OverToasty

    Sorry, but I don't get this ... what's ECC ram, and if it's so important, why isn't it stopping Big Mac?



    Mr. Curious




    Error Correcting Code...it really isn't that crucial nowadays...back in the OS 9 days it may have been a bonus (or Windows 9x days, for those Microsoft shops), but nowadays, it really isn't too important. Servers on the Windows side have had support for them for years.
  • Reply 19 of 34
    baumanbauman Posts: 1,248member
    When does the parity bit get added in ECC RAM? Is it when it enters or when it leaves? If it's only when it's leaving the RAM, there would be almost no way there would be enough noise to flip a bit. If, however, the parity bit goes on when it enters, now that might be of use.



    How often does memory corrupt data?
  • Reply 20 of 34
    From my subjective experiences with linux and OSX on mac hardware, not very often.



    But I can't see how it would hurt...
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