Subject: RE: Google news archive
To: Eric Smith <eric@brouhaha.com>
From: Brian Chase <bdc@world.std.com>
List: port-vax
Date: 12/12/2001 15:21:22
On Wed, 12 Dec 2001, Eric Smith wrote:

> > But sorts and searches (DB2, 650 million records, randomly generated)
> > on my G5 running z/OS on z/VM easily beat the living shit out of the
> > same operation on my login server (eight processor 700MHz Pentium III
> > Xeon, Linux).
>
> Sure, but it won't beat the living shit out of a farm of 6000 high-end
> PCs, or even a few hundred high-end PCs.

It also becomes pretty trivial to manage and scale a very large cluster
of loosely coupled Linux or *BSD PCs.  Assuming they've the same
software config across the systems, you can just net install the
critters.

If any of them die, that's okay.  The model is that you don't even worry
with maintenance contracts on them.  The gear is disposable.  If it
breaks, pitch it.  And with a PC cluster solution, it also requires very
little skill to effectively manage it.  It can all be done with
commodity hardware and commodity Sysadmin skills.

With a large IBM systems, you're paying premium dollars for an extremely
well engineered system... and it requires you deal with IBM to work
through problems (which could impact your entire operation). I also
doubt you can (or would want to) buy an IBM mainframe class system
without a maintenance contract.  My experiences with IBM hardware
support have been good, but it's friggin' expensive.

Maybe if there were a surplus of young, eager, IBM mainframers willing
to work 70-80hr weeks in startup mode at a company, Google's solution
would've been something different.  But it obviously works, and it works
very well from an end-user perspective.  It'd probably work even better
if NetBSD were involved.

Oh, and here's a valuable PC maintenance tip for those of you involved
with managing large numbers of PCs, either on the desktop or in a
cluster:

Q: Tired of dealing with flakey system hardware problems where you waste
   too much time on the phone talking to bozo level support technicians?

A: Get a stun gun and kill that system dead.  If the box doesn't come up
   at all, then you save yourself lots of time on the phone, and most
   service contracts will ship you a replacement machine in short order.

-brian.
--- Brian Chase | bdc@world.std.com | http://world.std.com/~bdc/ -----
                   Do not fold, mutilate, or spindle.