Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Cluster Interconnects: The Whole Shebang

Cross-posted from The Grid Blog

ClusterMonkey has a nice introductory article on Cluster Interconnects with a focus on interconnects that aren't tied to vendor specific node hardware.
An often asked question from both "clusters newbies" and experienced cluster users is, "what kind of interconnects are available?" The question is important for two reasons. First, the price of interconnects can range from as little as $32 per node to as much as $3,500 per node, yet the choice of an interconnect can have a huge impact on the performance of the codes and the scalability of the codes. And second, many users are not aware of all the possibilities. People new to clusters may not know of the interconnection options and, sometimes, experienced people choose an interconnect and become fixated on it, ignoring all of the alternatives. The interconnect is an important choice and ultimately the choice depends upon on your code, requirements, and budget.
Complete article: Cluster Interconnects: The Whole Shebang

The interconnects examined are:
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • Gigabit Ethernet with Level 5 NICs
  • 10 Gigabit Ethernet
  • Infiniband
  • Infinipath
  • Myrinet
  • QsNet (Quadrics)
  • SCI (Dolphin)
The article also examines various performance improvement methods and alternatives such as GAMMA, Scali MPI, etc. The review concludes with two tables summarizing key features and pricing for various size clusters.

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