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Network hardware used in clusters

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Old   May 25, 2008, 08:32
Default Hello, I'm interested in what
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kar
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Kārlis Repsons
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Hello,
I'm interested in what kind of networking people use for effective parallel CFD computing? When it is sufficient with some cat5 wiring + switches and when something faster, like Infiniband is necessary?

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Kārlis
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Old   May 25, 2008, 10:23
Default It is strongly application and
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It is strongly application and code-dependend. As a rute of thumb:

For calculations on more than 16 cpus "normal" gigabyte ethernet is too slow mostly. Nevertheless it is also dependend on number of cores per node,...

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Old   May 25, 2008, 15:41
Default You mean > 16core machine?? El
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You mean > 16core machine?? Else it makes some kind of nonsense to me - switch should be able to handle properly all of it's connects, isn't that right?
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Old   May 25, 2008, 16:35
Default I do not understand what you m
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I do not understand what you mean. Of course a switch can handle all. However, if you distribute a CFD case into more than about 16 parts communication overhead grows non-linear. That means for these cases with that much communication your network will definitely be the first bottleneck in cases of speed. This is refered to as speedup. If you run a case on one core you get a speedup of one. Running it on eg 8 cores has a theoretical speedup of 8 but you will only get less. And using gigabyte ethernet you will not get much quicker if you use 16 or 32 or 64 codes in general - of course this is case and architecture dependend. However using faster interconnects (eg infiniband) will give you further speedup if you switch from 16 to 32 parts... This is what I wanted to say.

All this is also dependend on number of cores per CPU and CPUs per node. Above numbers go for typical nodes with 2CPUs and 2 cores per CPU. I do not know to much about nodes with more cores on it...
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Old   May 26, 2008, 04:18
Default So the story is about timestep
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So the story is about timestep computing time compared with time necessary to exchange boundary values. Gigabyte network might have two speed problems: too little transfer speed and latencies. By dividing, typical timestep computing time and speedup decreases, if network is slower than inter-core communication.

Just curious: how much those infiniband NIcards cost? And ~30 port switch?
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Old   May 26, 2008, 16:46
Default And please don't forget to fac
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And please don't forget to factor in the memory bandwidth bottleneck when using multi-core CPUs. The more cores that share memory bandwith, the worse is the speedup (even if onboard core interconnects are used).
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