The decision to favor Intel/Linux enabled NuTec to create a lower cost structure with industry standard hardware and to take advantage of the improved FP (Floating Point) performance of Intel Pentium 4 processors, which would prove to be especially beneficial to NuTec for their intensive graphical image processing requirements. The Linux route would also eliminate the NFS bottleneck and provide data sharing with SAN performance via a CFS (cluster file system) on the SAN that features the ability to scale to hundreds of nodes with minimal management.
NuTec adopted Minneapolis-based Sistina Software's GFS (Global File System) Linux cluster file system. Its cluster nodes physically share storage over Fibre Channel or shared SCSI, and while each node thinks the file system is local, file access is synchronized across the entire cluster.
In effect, GFS can pool storage onto cheap, efficient machines. NuTec's system resides on a Fibre Channel SAN infrastructure from LSI Logic for high I/O performance. Processing consists of 350 dual processor P4 based nodes, providing 750 Linux-running CPUs, each of which is four times faster per box than the previous AIX processors.
The following table, prepared by NuTec, compares the two systems:
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