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Achieving a balanced low-cost architecture for mass storage management through multiple fast Ethernet channels on the Beowulf parallel workstation

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5 Author(s)
T. Sterling ; Center of Excellence in Space Data & Inf. Sci., NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA ; D. J. Becker ; M. R. Berry ; D. Savarese
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A network of workstations (NOW) seeks to leverage commercial workstation technology to produce high-performance computing systems at costs appreciably lower than parallel computers specifically designed for that purpose. The capabilities of technologies emerging from the PC commodity mass market are rapidly evolving to converge with those of workstations while at significantly lower cost. A new operating point in the price-performance design space of parallel system architecture may be derived through parallelism of PC subsystems. The “Pile-of-PCs” (PopC) approach is being explored through the Beowulf parallel workstation, developed to provide order-of-magnitude increases in disk capacity and bandwidth for a single-user environment at costs commensurate with conventional high-end workstations. This paper explores a critical aspect of the architecture trade-off space for Beowulf associated with the balance of parallel disk throughput and internal network bandwidth. The findings presented demonstrate that the parallel channels of a commodity 100 Mbps Ethernet are both necessary and sufficient to support the data rates of multiple concurrent file transfers on a 16-processor Beowulf parallel workstation

Published in:

Parallel Processing Symposium, 1996., Proceedings of IPPS '96, The 10th International

Date of Conference:

15-19 Apr 1996