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August 28, 2003

The blades have arrived

Earlier this year I wrote that my proposal  for 'A Testbed for Highly-Scalable Mission Critical Information Systems' had been selected for funding under the DURIP program. Since then I have put together the hardware shopping list for this experimental cluster, and went around collecting the various pieces: four big quad-processors from Dell which will run the network emulation core, sixteen 80-port Fast Ethernet switches with extensive VLAN support to emulate all sorts of domain configurations, six Gigabit Ethernet switches for administrative purposes, eight development workstations, and racks, kvm's and other support hardware.

But yesterday finally the biggest piece arrived: fourteen crates holding the 252 blade servers that will form the end-nodes in the emulation system. The systems consists of 14 3U containers with each container holding 18 blades. The system came in more-or-less directly from Taiwan after a stop in California where they underwent some last tests at the vendor's US office.

The first main task we will be working on in this project is how to best layout the servers, blades and network components such that the physical connections between blades (each has 3 FE ports) and the switches can remain manageable. I will be writing about how this environment takes shape in the weeks to come.

Click on the image to get a larger view (600 kb)

Posted by Werner Vogels at August 28, 2003 02:02 PM
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