It was reported last week on www.itnews.com.au that Digital production house Dr. D. Studios is in the early stages of building a supercomputer grid cluster for the rendering of the animated feature film Happy Feet 2 and visual effects in Fury Road the long-anticipated fourth film in the Mad Max series. The super computer grid is based on HP BL490 G6 blade servers housed within an APC HACS pod, is already running in excess of 1000 cores and is expected to reach over 6000 cores during peak rendering by mid-2011.
This cluster boasted 4096 cores, taking it into the top 100 on the list of Top 500 supercomputers in the world in 2007 (it now sits at 447).
According to Doctor D infrastructure engineering manager James Bourne, “High density compute clusters provide an interesting engineering exercise for all parties involved. Over the last few years the drive to virtualise is causing data centres to move down a medium density path.”
Cisco is getting some (more) recognition with their UCS blade server product, as they recently achieved the top position for “8 Core Server” on VMware’s VMmark benchmark tool. VMmark is the industry’s first (and only credible) virtualization benchmark for x86-based computers. According to the VMmark website, the Cisco UCS B200 blade server reached a score of 25.06 @ 17 tiles. A “tile” is simple a collection of virtual machines (VM’s) that are executing a set of diverse workloads designed to represent a natural work environment. The total number of tiles that a server can handle provides a detailed measurement of that server’s consolidation capacity.
Cisco’s Winning Configuration So – how did Cisco reach the top server spot? Here’s the configuration:
2 x Intel Xeon X5570 Processors
96GB of RAM (16 x 8GB)
1 x Converged Network Adapter (Cisco UCS M71KR-Q)
Cisco MDS 9130
1154.27GB Used Disk Space
1024MB Array Cache
41 disks used on 4 enclosures/shelves (1 with 14 disk, 3 with 9 disks)
37 LUNs used
*17 at 38GB (file server + mail server) over 20 x 73GB SSDs
*17 at 15GB (database) + 2 LUNs at 400GB (Misc) over 16 x 450GB 15k disks
* 1 LUN at 20GB (boot) over 5 x 300GB 15k disks
RAID 0 for VMs, RAID 5 for VMware ESX 4.0 O/S
While first place on the VMmark page (8 cores) shows Fujitsu’s RX300, it’s important to note that it was reached using Intel’s W5590 processor – a processor that is designed for “workstations” – not servers. Second place, of server processors, currently shows HP’s BL490with 24.54 (@ 17 tiles)
Thanks to Omar Sultan (@omarsultan) for Tweeting about this and to Harris Sussman for blogging about it.