ErvKosch
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Re: Little machines and the future of the data center

Mon Nov 07, 2011 10:23 pm

I got emailed this article about HP's new Redstone Server (no relation to Minecraft). Its a new series or ARM based low-power servers. Here's the article:

http://www.infoworld.com/t/dat.....ter-178219

mikeanthonywild
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Re: Little machines and the future of the data center

Wed Nov 09, 2011 6:10 pm

I actually did some calculations the other day related to making a server out of Raspberry-Pi like devices. The density of R-Pi you could fit into a 4U chassis is unbelievable (I reckoned around 175, but you might be able to fit more if you tried really hard). If you used a decent load balancer which offloaded all the request handling to a free node then the performance would be pretty astounding with regards to how many connections you could handle simultaneously. Power consumption is less than 700W and the overall cost comes out at around £3000 including extras like ethernet cables etc. I would love to see how that compared to a proper server costing the same amount.

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abishur
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Re: Little machines and the future of the data center

Wed Nov 09, 2011 6:59 pm

My only hang-up is the load balancing part. Having been part of the purchasing of such devices, I know they don't come cheap, and having to purchase enough to attach all those pis... wow. That said, it was a load balancer for a professional environment and was handling some high traffic websites, so a decent load balancer for the average end user might be much more affordable. I do think something like this would be a pretty fun college project or a "why not" project and I hope someone does it. :)
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mikeanthonywild
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Re: Little machines and the future of the data center

Wed Nov 09, 2011 7:31 pm

Haha yeah, something along the same lines of the University that secured funding to buy a massive cluster of PS3s :D I was going to buy four, not very impressive I know, unfortunately I'm off travelling soon and so I don't think my non-existant disposable income will cover even one!

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jojopi
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Re: Little machines and the future of the data center

Thu Nov 10, 2011 12:15 pm

Quote from mikeanthonywild on November 9, 2011, 18:10
The density of R-Pi you could fit into a 4U chassis is unbelievable (I reckoned around 175, but you might be able to fit more if you tried really hard).

But a single Xeon core will be 20 to 120 times faster than the R-pi's ARMv6, depending on benchmark -- compare the wiki. And four sockets times four cores would be a very modest configuration for a 4U chassis.

The GPU figures are harder to come by, but I doubt that any parallel configuration of embedded devices will be able to compete with mid-range off-the-shelf PCI-e cards. (Or games consoles perhaps, if they are new and still being sold at a loss.) And of course it will not be as easy to program.

The topic of ARM targetting the datacentre market is quite exciting though, for applications that can handle the parallelism. I wonder when we will see the first ARM-based supercomputers.

mikeanthonywild
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Re: Little machines and the future of the data center

Thu Nov 10, 2011 12:47 pm

It wasn't really a serious proposition, it was more just satisfying a curiosity.

Hmm I wouldn't have said that an ARM core (if clocked to 1GHz) would be 120x slower than a Xeon core, though I haven't checked any benchmarks and you could quite possibly be correct. I also agree that a four socket 4U server is quite modest, but we're talking about price here. I would have said a modern 4 socket Xeon board alone would cost a thousand or so, and the four Xeon chips would be almost a thousand each, which prices it quite a lot more than filling a box with Rpis :D

For GPGPU an ARM chip would be in a whole different ballgame, you can't compete with a dedicated GPU with a stream count of several hundred.

Anywho, it will be interesting to see where ARM is in a couple of years.

jamesh
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Re: Little machines and the future of the data center

Thu Nov 10, 2011 12:50 pm

I'd not bother with the SoC used on a Pi. However, there are lots of very interesting devices on the horizon from all the Arm manufacturers with much greater processing power (even without the GPU). Now they would be interesting in a server situation and that is where HP are coming from.

Where Raspi would be interesting is in teaching people how to use/program multi processors systems for very little outlay.

As an aside, I've been looking at providing some access to the GPU vector cores, because there is about 4Ghz of integer performance to be tapped there (excluding overhead). Not looked at any of the other cores yet.
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willlim
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Re: Little machines and the future of the data center

Thu Nov 10, 2011 1:03 pm

Quote from jojopi on November 10, 2011, 12:15

The topic of ARM targetting the datacentre market is quite exciting though, for applications that can handle the parallelism. I wonder when we will see the first ARM-based supercomputers.


In fact already exists teams working in a ARM supercomputers
http://www.eetimes.com/electro.....-simulator

jamesh
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Re: Little machines and the future of the data center

Thu Nov 10, 2011 1:27 pm

Quote from jamesh on November 10, 2011, 12:50
I'd not bother with the SoC used on a Pi. However, there are lots of very interesting devices on the horizon from all the Arm manufacturers with much greater processing power (even without the GPU). Now they would be interesting in a server situation and that is where HP are coming from.

Where Raspi would be interesting is in teaching people how to use/program multi processors systems for very little outlay.

As an aside, I've been looking at providing some access to the GPU vector cores, because there is about 4Ghz of integer performance to be tapped there (excluding overhead). Not looked at any of the other cores yet.

And something else to pique your interest - there are other cores on the GPU capable of over 20GFlops of floating point performance. If that could be harnessed, that is a lot of horsepower. HOWEVER, that's for the future.
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mikeanthonywild
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Re: Little machines and the future of the data center

Thu Nov 10, 2011 2:11 pm

Discovering the unharnessed potential under the bonnet is pretty awesome really, especially for a chip that costs a few dollars!

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