Building a Cluster Part 2

Last time I discussed a bit about the needs we had identified and outlines for supporting next-generation sequencing in a clinical setting from a bioinformatics perspective. I focused a bit at the end on the solution for storage we are using from based off of their Storinator product. We have three of the 4U units in-house now with some drives on the way. The 10 GbE switch is also now in the data centre and other than that we are just waiting on our compute solution to be delivered. For our compute option we went with the Dell FX2 platform. The FX2 is an example of the recent trend of moving towards converged architectures to simplify operations and generally reduce costs. This platform comes in a variety of configurations and densities, we opted for the 4 node compute option with I/O aggregators to simplify our networking. The 4 compute nodes themselves actually communicate over the backplane of the FX2, meaning that communication between nodes doesn't need to go to the switch and back, that is definitely one of the main advantages of the aggregator over the ethernet pass-through module they offer, and the cost difference is pretty minimal. With the 10GbE between the storage nodes and compute, overall we should have a blazing fast cluster.

Each node fits our requirements for CPU and RAM, and has a few TBs of local storage for fast scratch, temporary files, genomics resources, etc.

Now it is all about planning the OS and how to hook everything up together in an awesome cluster.

Written on November 19, 2015