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Specifications for Quotes, August 2008

Computing nodes:

  • all hardware must be supported by Scientific Linux / Centos / Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4.6 (kernel 2.6.9+patches)
    (either officially or as result of demonstrable extensive ad-hoc tests)
  • form factor: 1U rackmount or blades
    IU rackmount preferred for initial cluster, the price overhead of the blade chassis may not be justified. Vendors are anyway welcome to make offers also for blades, specifying beyond which number of units they would become convenient.
  • CPU:
    • 1 or 2 socket
    • AMD Opteron or Intel Core 2 architecture
      • x86_64 architecture (AMD64 or EMT64)
      • hardware assisted virtualization (AMD Pacifica or Intel VT)
    • will choose between dual or quad core based on price/performance.
    • computing power per Watt interesting but not decisive
  • RAM 1GB per core, ECC compulsory
  • 1 or 2 Ethernet network interfaces 1GBEth
    • dual 1GBEth on board will be favorably considered
  • internal storage:
    • CD rom _NOT_ required
    • >= 80GB hard disk, SATA preferred
  • management interface (BIOS level access, remote booting etc)
    • must be usable from remote Linux client
  • any additional item required for rack mounting or other must be specified and priced

Head node:

base specs like above except:

  • Form factor: 2U or 4U rackmount
  • CPU: at least four cores on 1 or 2 sockets
  • RAM: 1GB ECC per core
  • 2 Ethernet network interfaces 1GBEth
  • internal storage:
    • 2x >=250 GB SATA hard disks
    • at least 5 bays for 3.5" hard disk, 5 SATA interfaces
    • DVD ROM

Network switch

HP ProCurve seem to be a common choice in HPC clusters

  • at least 24 ports 1GBEth
  • Scalable and/or stackable for expansion
    • it's probably necessary to have 10GB ports for stacking
  • Latency on 1GB ports:
    • 5.4 Ás (FIFO 64-byte packets) on ProCurve 2810
    • 3.7 Ás (FIFO 64-byte packets) on ProCurve 2900
  • Switch fabric bandwidth:
    • 4.8GBps/port on ProCurve 2900-24
    • 3.6GBps/port on ProCurve 2900-48
    • 2.0GBps/port on ProCurve 2810


  • IPv6. Is this interesting for us? ProCurve 2900 supports it, 2810 doesn't.
  • Should we care only about packet switching, or also Level 3 routing?
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Page last modified on March 18, 2009, at 12:40 PM