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That's because a Linux cluster made up of inexpensive one- or two-way Intel blades costs a fraction of a single equivalent large RISC-based symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) server.
But without a clustered file system to provide a single data store to each of the parallel blades, management of the cluster is a real headache, Feldman says. To that end, CD Adapco has deployed its software on a Fujitsu's hpcLine of Intel-based servers running Sistina Software's Global File System (GFS) a clustered file system.
Without a clustered file system providing centralized disk management, each CFD "run" requires that the full dataset be copied to a local disk associated with each processor in the cluster. Then after the run is completed, results are merged and copied to a central location. By implementing GFS, Feldman says, CD Adapco was able to eliminate this data movement step.
In the days before GFS, CD Adapco had scripted these steps, which minimized the amount of manual labor an administrator had to perform. And it all worked fine, "until something went wrong." For example, an entire run might fail if a processor's disk was full. Runs take anywhere between twenty minutes and a month, Feldman says.
This was first published in January 2004