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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

x86 on a POWER...

It seems like IBM has few tricks in their sleeves. Normally there would not be an efficient way to run Linux on their mainframes thanks to their fully hot-swap architecture. Fried a CPU or a RAM? Maybe even a mainboard? No problem - they are hot swappable :)

More info on the architecture here. Normal small to midrange enterprises usually don't need them as they can deploy grid architecture, but there is wide range of services that need to maintain around 99.9+% of uptime with high loads. Here comes the System p to fix most of the problems. As grids are powerful, they have some shortcomings. They don't provide enough power for high end calculations as they usually are linked with up to 1gbit interfaces - the system P is on the other hand interlinked with maximum theoretical bandwidth of 30gbit or more interlinks. It also provides the hot swap for all components (well almost all) - I haven't looked into System p design for a long time, but the only part that was not hot swap was the interconnect plate around 3 years ago. Usually these system sun without problems (after they have been set up properly) 6+ years and when the crash happens its total as people who set the system up most likely have moved up the food chain and got a better job or just wont remember how to set them up. Here is where the grid is more fault tolerant - you can loose some of the nodes without any impact on overall performance (and I don't mean "2 pc clusters"). Grid hardware is also cheaper (usually normal PC's or racked server or blades) interconnected with ether 1gbit full duplex single mode fiber, 10gbit multi mode dark fiber, or when the requirements are high enough a profession interconnect.

Anyone wanna donate an IBM System p5 595 with 64x2.3GHZ CPU, 2TB RAM and a 28.1TB storage node for hmm... testing purposes? :)

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