Illuminata senior analyst Gordon Haff thinks Apple’s recently announced deal with COLSA gives Apple the credibility to make further inroads in “sci-tech” at lower levels as well. “They are seeing wins in biotech with smaller deals, and this deal legitimizes the PowerPC architecture they are using in their products,” Haff told MacNewsWorld.
The Dawn of the Apple Supercomputer
2004-06-24 Apple 24 Comments
It seems quite a few new super computer deals have been made with Apple as of late. I hope this trend keeps up.
As far as OS religion goes, I firmly believe that the OS is a tool and that every tool has a use for which it is best suited, and a use for which it is poorly suited. With the new “supercomputer” deals that Apple is pulling in, maybe this is why they released versions of their Xgrid software for Linux? According to Apple it’s as easy to incorporate a Linux machine running Xgrid as an Xserve running Xgrid ….. then there is YellowDog ….. Xgrid on YellowDog Linux on G5 Xserve? So the people that are dead set against Mac OS for whatever reason will still be able to feel at home on a Mac?
Anyway, that’s my patent pending BTOD (Bulls**T Theory Of the Day) Take it or leave it.
This is the dawn of the Apple supercomputer?
What about the G4? Apple told me THAT was a supercomputer too!
I think Mac Os X is better because is much more optimized than linux powerpc..
Linux for powerpc isn’t as optimized as Linux x86.. It need to mature a little..
The optimizations you are talking about there are mostly related to system startup time and filesystem-specific perfomance tweaks. Folks that do scientific computing couldn’t care less about all this.
Mature a little? Hmmm, I’d say that if it is mature enough for IBM, it is definitely good enough for me.
With regards to the link you posted:
1 & 2 don’t matter, because these super-computers stay up for weeks or months at a time.
3 & 4 are already part of Linux.
5 isn’t necessary, because unlike the ancient HFS, Linux filesystems were designed to avoid fragmentation from the beginning.
6 is already implemented (prelink).
7 & 8 are development-environment specific, rather than OS-specific. Most of those tools exist on Linux too.
9 is already implemented (XFS, Reiser3/4, ext3)
10 makes no sense at all for super-computers.
What about the G4? Apple told me THAT was a supercomputer too!
-out of topic-
I have a G4 1.25 and have used windows NT and 2000 for years, also Linux.
This G4 processor is a little better than the (Athlon/Duron) i586 at 1.2 Ghz for your home compiling and heavy tasks.
I must say that I love Apple hardware (this keyboard and the computer as a whole are really high quality and it will always be the best hardware you can find).
-/out of topic-
Now, for super computing stuff, it can be a good platform if one uses only G5 blades.
In my empiric opinion, this platform is a really robust one it does not commit suicide like the i386 platform does (no common processing errors), or does it much less than.
That counts on “super-computers” with 200 or more cpu’s.
I’ve posted it as an example, because i think Amit Singh has more credibility than me…
There are a bunch of optimizations in Os X, some are useful for supercomputers and other don’t…
Apple already has a presence in many scientific and educational communities. Some of the bulk deals Apple offers on Xserve cluster nodes are very competitive. I am glad to see them competing here but I know Intel currently holds like 258 places on the top500 list.
Since IBM makes the CPU’s, and they make machines based on them, wouldn’t it be a lot less expensive to cut out the middle man (Apple). Each time I hear of institutions going to Apple to make supercomputers, I get suspicious. I have a feeling they might be subsidizing these institutions by giving them a deep discount, all in the name of marketing.
Its similar to the commercial from Duracell, stating that “The Lord of the Rings” crew used only Duracell brand batteries in their light meters. Now it is conceivable that Duracell might have really provided a better product. However it is more likely Duracell gave them free batteries for the duration of the shoot.
It seems to me that IBM should be able to make servers just as powerful, not to mention that without the middleman they should be able to have a better retail price. It stands to reason that Apple could be giving away their hardware, all in the name of selling more Macs.
“and this deal legitimizes the PowerPC architecture”
That’s a funny statement, maybe it’s just meant for x86 users. Look what the 970 and 970fx is derived from……the IBM Power4 server chip. The 970 isn’t a leftover celeron chip.
“It seems to me that IBM should be able to make servers just as powerful, not to mention that without the middleman they should be able to have a better retail price. It stands to reason that Apple could be giving away their hardware, all in the name of selling more Macs.”
Yeah, and they would piss off their biggest customer of G5’s in the process only to sell a few hundreds of machines, now that makes a lot of business sense! If apple gives away those G5’s they still have to buy the processors from IBM, or you think IBM gives them for free? Jeez.
IBM’s POWER architecture is a whole other class of machine. They sell their chips in high power, high priced, high margin workstations and mainframes. They chase the low end market, which is in competition with Apple’s class of hardware, with their x86 lines.
Keep in mind that it was the price/performance ratio that led the army lab as well as Virginia Tech to choose Apple’s hardware over the available x86 options they were presented. The statistics from the top 500 alone shows that.
We came close to a “they could have built them with a really big NewEgg order and run Linux” post, but not quite. The bang for the buck is pretty good on the G5s.
The Apple G5 machines have other benefits over some x86 systems. The biggest one is being able to address 8GB of RAM compared to 4GB limits on 32bit x86 systems.
The University in my home town (in New Zealand) has a system built with 66 dual Athlon CPU’s. They are considering using G5 Xservers to upgrade this system in the next few months mainly to allow larger data sets to be kept in RAM. Handy for DNA searches and the like.
I am also aware of a couple of Australian Universities who are going down the same path.
Did this uni ever heard of AMD? The will get a better deal with AMD64 technology.
$5.8 million divided by 1566 give you $3703 per 1U box. Buying AMD at that price will give you dualie Opteron but probably a stunted low-RAM box with IDE hard disks. Hardly a viable option for supercomputing.
anyone have any idea how much apple is looking to bring in revenue wise from supercomputers? I realize they are just scaling now but how big of a market is this or is it more important for the publicity?
Right now, I think Apple is earning only dimes and pennies on supercomputing, but it gives a lot of publicity as Jobs spent quite some time talking about the Virginia Tech supercomputer at some presentation (I can’t remember). I imagine this one will be mentioned at this years WWDC as well.
It helps as a mark of quality that if your Apple G5 can be used professionally in a supercomputing environment, then it must be a great machine. Great advertising for Apple.
What I find impressive in this regard is that they can waltz right into the enterprise market and grab a big chunk of it thanks to things like this. It’s probably what they are planning to do, they just haven’t shown much effort in doing it yet.
Good point. Does the $5.8 million quoted for the Army cluster include the interconnect hardware? If it does, then it’s even a better deal.
They are only using gigabit ethernet to connect the servers, as opposed to the Fiber Channel that the V-Tech supercomputer uses. It will be interesting to see how this affects performance.
Now that the military has macs running web-servers and macs running research oriented supercomputers, I wonder when they finally decide to make the big “switch.” . . .
“Hello. My name is Donald Rumsfeld, and I’m a switcher. The mac’s allowed me to keep embarrasing political scandals from happening, due to the built in FileVault technology, which automatically encrypts my entire home directory. Now THAT is home(land) security, my friends.”
Enterprise != supercomputing.
They are definitely not the same. If they were, where is Cray? They did and still do build supercomputers, but they are mostly used in research. That’s that same area that the Apple clusters will be used in. I’m guessing apple has decent penetration in Science. I used to install workstations for researchers, and many were Macs and Powerbooks, a much higher percentage of Macs than anywhere else I’ve seen.
Macs are cheap compared to IBM. Real Cheap!
The G5 is a go between, desktop/workstation.
Costs more than consumer desktop, less than high end commercial stuff.
Here’s your basic IBM office packages starting at $359.00.
Workstations for under $1100.00.
Then check the power series and Boing, hmmmm, maybe those Apple’s are cheap.
Check out IBM storage solutins. You and I can only dream.