Va Tech Cluster Info Session - Apple the Cheapest Option

On September 4th, 2003, Virginia Tech held an informational session for their upcoming Supercomputer Cluster. The new Cluster has received a lot of attention as it is expected to be one of the top computer clusters in the world, and is utilizing 1100 of Apple's new Dual 2.0GHz PowerMac G5s.

The informational session provided confirmation of some of the available information as well as some interesting details of the planning stage. As previously reported, the total cost of the Supercomputer Cluster comes to $5.2 million -- which includes systems, memory storage and "communication fabrics".

Even at $5.2 million, the overall cost of the system is said to be "one of the cheapest systems of its kind". In determining which architecture to use, many vendors were considered beyond Apple -- including Dell, Sun, IBM and HP. The final decision, however, was made on a pure Cost vs Performance basis -- with Apple's solution providing the best overall price.

The PowerMac G5 systems will be running Mac OS X, and will also utilize a custom "fault tolerance" software system called Deja V. This fault tolerance system will allow the cluster to withstand "just about [any] failure".

The cluster is expected to begin operations on October 1, 2003, with performance tweaking through Mid November. At that time, it will be open for initial applications, with a fully operational cluster expected by January 2004.

The entire transcript of notes is provided on Chaosmint.com. Virginia Tech student, Myuuchan, took these detailed notes during the session, and submitted to MacRumors by Cless.

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