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Slashdot: Answers About The New NOAA Massive Linux Cluster

Jun 01, 2000, 22:24 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Greg Lindahl)

"You've built a large cluster of machines on a relatively pea-sized budget. Are other government agencies going to duplicate your work? Have they already? If so, for what purposes?"

There are a lot of government agencies building large clusters, such as the Department of Energy's Sandia National Lab, which has the 800+ processor CPlant cluster today, with another 1,400 processors on the way. Like FSL, they use their cluster for scientific computing. The well-known Beowulf clusters started within NASA, another U.S. government agency."

"However, the Forecast Systems Lab (FSL) system is a bit different from these other clusters: it's intended to be a production-quality "turn key" supercomputer, and it contains all the things supercomputer users are used to, such as a huge robotic tape storage unit (70 terabytes of tapes), and a fast disk subsystem (a bandwidth of 200 megabytes/second.) The FSL system is also much more reliable than your average cluster -- in its first three months of operation, it was up 99.9% of the time. During that time we had quite a few hardware failures (due to a power supply problems), but no work was lost, because of our fault-tolerant software."

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