LINUXWORLD: Clusters to benefit from 64-bit Intel chips

The arrival of next-generation Itanium chips from Intel will take Linux clustering to a whole new level, according to Songnian Zhou, the CTO of Toronto-based Platform Computing Inc.

During a panel discussion titled "Clustering for High-Performance Computing" here at LinuxWorld Thursday, Zhou said that "by default, the majority of future computing environments will be Linux clusters," a trend that will be driven "especially when 64-bit commodity chips from Intel arrive."

Those 64-bit commodity chips will be Intel's McKinley processor, a second-generation Itanium chip and the first fully mature 64-bit chip of the Itanium family. McKinley is expected to launch later this year, according to Intel.

Much of the success of Linux in running clustered server environments will be based on how well the open-source operating system performs on inexpensive, commodity chips from Intel, Zhou said. Because server clusters can be scaled out to thousands of server nodes, having an OS that runs well on inexpensive components such as Intel chips makes sense to the bottom line, he said.

"Linux makes it affordable to have very large systems because you can use commodity components," Zhou said.

Itanium chips, such as McKinley, support Linux code and can process data twice as fast as Intel's established line of 32-bit processors, meaning 64-bit Intel chips will bring even greater processing power to Linux clusters, Zhou explained.

Moderating the discussion, Debra Goldfarb, group vice president of worldwide systems and servers at IDC in Framingham, Mass., cautioned that although Intel chips do yield savings in clustered environments, the sheer mass of a large server cluster presents management challenges that bring their own expenses.

"There is still an inherent cost to this environment. We don't want anyone to get the wrong expectation of what it costs to deploy [a clustered Linux] environment," Goldfarb said. "You'll have a more efficient and more scalable environment [with a Linux cluster], but there is still overhead."

Goldfarb said Linux server clusters built by scientific and research institutes can be as large as multiple thousands of server nodes, but the average size Linux cluster in the industry today runs about 50 to 75 server nodes.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Dan Neel

Show Comments



Victorinox Werks Professional Executive 17 Laptop Case

Learn more >

Sansai 6-Outlet Power Board + 4-Port USB Charging Station

Learn more >



Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?