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Atoms for clustering

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I recently changed jobs - on the 1st of April no less. Victim of the economic crisis. I can't complain about my new boss though. He's the first one that has any real knowledge of networking and computer stuff. He's also something of a tinkerer. He's planning on building a cluster with Atom based machine. He's going to start with 6 of them - 1.6 GHz, 2 GB RAM and throw Xen/Citrix on them. Then load VM's from an iSCSI target. It's mostly for fun but it seems an interesting project. Anyone with experience in this field?

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I recently changed jobs - on the 1st of April no less. Victim of the economic crisis. I can't complain about my new boss though. He's the first one that has any real knowledge of networking and computer stuff. He's also something of a tinkerer. He's planning on building a cluster with Atom based machine. He's going to start with 6 of them - 1.6 GHz, 2 GB RAM and throw Xen/Citrix on them. Then load VM's from an iSCSI target. It's mostly for fun but it seems an interesting project. Anyone with experience in this field?

No, but keep going and let us informed if we can help to track down a problem :lol:

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Go ahead and try it, sounds fun if you can get enough bandwidth in the cluster (since Atom boards usually only have one onboard NIC and only one expansion slot).

However keep in mind this is just a fun project? So hell, give it a shot?

Atom is pretty damned slow for anything that needs real performance. If you're talking performance per watt or other "green" metrics, well, Atom and Nano are only good in low power/low demand tasks like web browsing and whatnot.

http://www.techreport.com/articles.x/15204/9

Check the last graph for "Task Energy". You're probably better off with a single Core i7 with 12GB DDR3 (6x2GB) than a cluster of 6 or 8, although that is mostly informed speculation on my part.

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For the boxes hosting the VMs, it would be beneficial to go for the cheapest possible systems with hardware virtualization built in. Two or three hosts with core-2-quads (Q8200) will be a much more useful environment than 6 Atom based hosts. Atom's are great for appliances (SANs and network gear), but hosting VMs will be a loser. Combine the quad hosts with a cheap X38 dual ethernet MB and 4G of cheap ram and you have a decent PXE boot host server for $250-ish which supports KVM out of the box.

F

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If your power really was just the usage of the atoms, this would potentially even be interesting.

But if you compare an Atom cluster with something in the line of a low power quad core, you get the following picture:

For the raw power of one Core2 quad, you need at least 8 atoms. Those themself dont use that much power, but you needs a chipset for each, a nic for each (one GBit Port needs about as much power as the atom itself), etc.

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How would one of these fare a surfboard though? I specifically need something to let my downloads run on at night and do some surfing, maybe use it as a sort of thin client so I can put my main machines somewhere else. I see Giga-Byte has a dual core version available...

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