Illustrated DAS Tour

DAS: A 200-node wide-area distributed system built out of four Myrinet-based Pentium Pro clusters


Here are pictures of the 128-node cluster installed at the VU.

Below are several pictures of the original 64-node cluster of the VU (which was installed 22 May 1997). The pictures illustrate the integration of the different components, as designed by Parsytec. The original 64-node cluster consisted of five cabinets. The leftmost and rightmost cabinet each contain 14 nodes, stored in five 19-inch racks; the three middle cabinets each contain 12 nodes, stored in four racks. Each 19-inch rack has (at most) three nodes.

Each cluster has a separate file server and gateway server. These machines are regular tower-PCs. The file server contains a 9 GByte SCSI (Ultra-wide, ultra-fast) disk. The gateways will be used to interconnect the four clusters over a wide-area network.

All connectors (of the motherboard and PCI cards) are at the front of the machine, so they are easy to access. Each node has a Myrinet SAN cable (the flat cable) and a Fast Ethernet cable connected to it. Each node also has keyboard and VGA connectors, so it's easy to attach a keyboard and monitor to any node.

Each cabinet contains a Fast Ethernet hub (the black boxes in the space between the second and third rack from the bottom). The hubs are connected through a single switch. Each cabinet also contains one or two dual 8-port Myrinet switches (the small white boxes). In total, there are 16 (i.e., eight dual) 8-port switches. Each switch is connected to four nodes and four other switches. The connection between the switches has a torus topology (a 2D-grid with wrap-around).

Each computing node is packaged as a metal cassette, containing the motherboard (LPX form factor) and a riser card with three PCI slots (two of which are occupied by the Myrinet and Fast Ethernet adaptors). The motherboard has RS232, parallel, and USB interfaces and a graphics adapter (Cirrus 5446). Specially-designed foam is used by Parsytec for integrating cooling channels. Below is a picture of one node (without the Myrinet card):

In September 1999, the chemistry department added a 16-node Pentium III cluster, shown below

Larger pictures are here:

Advanced School for
Computing and Imaging

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This page is maintained by Henri Bal.

Last modified: Fri Sep 17 12:19:14 MET DST 1999