Friday, 15 July 2011

Is a big ass server a want or a need?

"Big-Ass Servers™ and the myths of clusters in bioinformatics"

a topic title like that has to catch your attention ... 

I think that 

it is useful to have loads of ram and loads of cores for one person's use. But when it is shared (on the university's HPC), you have a hard time juggling resources in a fair manner especially in Bioinformatics where walltimes and ram requirements are known post analysis. A HPC engineer once told me that HPC for biologist means selfish hogging of resources. I can only shrug and concede at her comment. 

I don't know if there's a better way to do the things I do with more RAM and faster disks, but I do know that it will probably cost more in development time. 

That said Cloud computing is having trouble keeping up with I/O bound stuff like bioinformatics, and smaller cloud computing services are all trying to show that they have faster interconnects, but you can't really beat a BAS that's on a local network.

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