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Re: [Linux-cluster] Hardware options

Thanks Jonathon, that's very informative and some very good ideas.

I like the idea of the 10K RPM disks, I will definitely read up on those. Also, I had been thinking of quad core CPU's too, something in a small form factor or as you say even laptop size. What I am looking for is (ideally)

2 physical machines

1 x Quad Core CPU with Intel Virtualization (for KVM)

External shared storage, anything from 250GB upwards (I like the idea of 2.5" disks perhaps two in RAID 1)

The above would give me plenty of horse power to run quite a few guests and enable me to set up a physical and virtual cluster. If I can get the whole lot for under 400W I will be more than pleased. At present my two DL 380's run at 500W approximately as does the MSA 500 disk array. Cutting my power consumptiion by nearly 75% definitely appeals!!

Anybody else got any example of a lower power set up for home use?


----- Original Message ----- From: "Jonathan Buzzard" <j buzzard dundee ac uk>
To: "linux clustering" <linux-cluster redhat com>
Sent: Friday, May 01, 2009 10:07 AM
Subject: Re: [Linux-cluster] Hardware options

On Thu, 2009-04-30 at 18:22 +0100, Virginian wrote:
I was hit by a rather large electricity bill recently (at home). My
current cluster set up comprises 2 x HP Proliant DL380 G3s and an MSA
500 storage array (all three are very heavy on the juice!). I decided
that if I want to continue playing with RHCS at home I needed to look
for a cheaper, greener option. I can easily get a couple of PC's (dual
or quad core cpus and plenty of RAM for running a virtualised cluster)
but the stumbling block has been a cheap low power shared storage
solution. The best that I have come up with so far is an offering from
Maxtor and from LaCie, which basically comprises an esata disk
enclosure that has two firewire 800 ports. I believe that Linux will
support these dual firewire 800 enclosures but I am a little concerned
about the speed (91MB/s) in comparison to a SCSI disk array. Ideally,
I would prefer a disk enclosure / array with dual esata ports but I
haven't been able to find anything.

My question is, does anybody have a low cost hardware specification
that they are running xen and RHCS on with shared storage that won't
cost the earth and won't hit me in the wallet when it comes to paying
the electricity bill?

The cheapest shared storage you are going to get is FireWire. You cannot
do shared storage with eSATA. Thing of FireWire as a cheap mans Fibre
Channel network in loop mode.

However I would roll your own firewire enclosure and fit it out with
some Western Digital VelociRaptor 10k RPM drives. As I would say I/O's
per second is more important than actual throughput.

You could also cheat a bit if you are using more than one physical
drive, and use a bridge board per drive, and wire each drive back to the

I reckon that you could do a couple of quad code nodes, with two 300GB
VelociRaptor drives with a power budget under 400W easily, and less if
you pay for laptop parts. There are also some nice cases that take two
mini-ITX boards if you want to go small.


Jonathan A. Buzzard                      Tel: +441382-386998
Storage Administrator, College of Life Sciences
University of Dundee, DD1 5EH

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