Windows 2008 drivers, benchmarking, and loading of the drives/network

Happily, the Intel site has the right drivers for Windows 2008 for the motherboard gigabits. Just ordered some additional quad cards and a better network switch so we can push this harder. With 4 gigabit clients, we are seeing about 3.5x 1 GbE port in bandwidth. Working on it.
Our test is incredibly simple. Set up IIS7 to serve files from a directory. Create 100 files of 100 MB each. System has 4 GB ram (ok more than that, but it is running 32 bit version of windows 2008, so all it sees is 4gb). Every random access of a file is therefore coming from disk. Curiously enough, under “heavy” load, the disk IO is not a significant contributer to completion time. The disk IO simply appears to be too fast for the network. Going to 10 GbE ports, and will test with 12 clients. See how hard we can push it. My impression is that the networking stack is not as fast as the Linux stack. Will need to turn of IPv6, see if this is an issue.

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Agglomeration of news

First, by now you have heard Tesla-10 is out. This is a significant performance step up, and I believe it has double precision capability. This is a hardware acceleration platform.
Roadrunner hit the PetaFLOP regime. What is important about this is that it did it at a lower power than many had predicted a PetaFLOP would require, and did it somewhat sooner than others had been predicting. This is an accelerated supercomputer, using Cell technology. The current fastest computer in the world uses accelerators.

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Secure remote desktop with stunnel

This is nice. We have set up a secure remote desktop with Stunnel for Windows 2008 server on JackRabbit M. Vijay is working on doing some setup for our benchmarks, and I wanted a way to give him access while he works remotely. Sure enough, setup wasn’t too painful, simply follow directions at this link.
Still have to order extra NICs and a new gigabit switch, but otherwise we are about ready to load test …

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What he said!

Up early on a friday morning, working through todays’ issues and … found this article on Linux Magazine by the esteemed Doug Eadline. I was in on the discussion that he refers to, and pointed out that you do in fact get what you pay for, and that you will not get an engineered system in many cases. Worse, the configs will likely be those that minimize vendor costs, as that is the problem they are attempting to solve in a low margin business (clusters).
You will not get an engineered or well designed system unless you, curiously enough, go with a group/shop that engineers/designs their clusters to fit your needs. This is not a minor point, a poorly designed system can be painful to work on. I know, I was working on such systems only yesterday.

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SUA impressions

A while ago, I had been advised to try SUA as part of windows. I was told it was much better than cygwin, and it is supported by Microsoft. Stuff will work, I was told.
Well, of these statements, I can say I believe “supported by Microsoft” is probably the true one.
Pulled down bonnie tarball. Tried to compile it. No luck. Pulled down IOzone tarball. Tried to compile it. No luck. Pulled down several other codes. Tried to compile them. No luck.
Are you noticing the pattern here?

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More W2k8 thoughts on JackRabbit M

So now you know that we are testing a unit with Windows 2008 on JackRabbit. Some of the things which struck me during this load were how initially simple the OS load appeared to be. It basically copied all it needed to the disk, rebooted, and installed. Ok, great. Except for the fact that it didn’t by default, recognize the on-board NICs. This means that we need to either find a second network card, or get the NICs going on the motherboard. Not sure if there are drivers for them, but will look. That it installed a 60 day demo without a key is a great step up for Microsoft. Kudos to them for getting this right. Would be even better if we can install it, and click on “order a key now” on the box. This would be very nice.
Then there was the matter of IE. Yeah, I know, Microsoft is trying very hard to make IE bulletproof. And the many dialogs we saw asking us if we really wanted to download something did convince me that they are indeed serious about preventing bad things from going on … ok … well … it didn’t. That was security theater.

Read moreMore W2k8 thoughts on JackRabbit M