News You Can Technically Make a Server With (Many) Raspberry Pi 4s

bit_user

Splendid
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Yet again, some things just ain't right. This is pretty embarrassing, for an article about an article. Without even looking, I could tell who wrote it.

The team would rather use these single-board computers than emulate Arm processors on x86-based servers.
ThunderX2 is ARM-based!

The closest answer they gave to why they went with Pi's is:
When I was first approached about this project, I assumed that a Raspberry Pi 4 4GB cluster was cheaper. After all, the boards are $55 each. That is three digits smaller than a server.
 

bit_user

Splendid
Herald
Actually there is a simpler solution with Socionext's SynQuacer SC2A11 24 core ARM CPU. There are several products using this chip such as 96boards Developerbox, plus upcoming V-Raptor and Banana Pi 24-Core Arm Server. Can find benchmarks over here.
Interesting links, but I don't see how that's simpler than the ThunderX2. The problem they were trying to solve by using Pi's wasn't simplicity, it was cost.

The ThunderX2 supports dual-CPU, with each CPU having up to 32 out-of-order cores and 128 threads. Compared to that, the Socionext CPU you linked has in-order A53 cores, which should each be less than half as fast as the ThunderX2 cores.

https://www.anandtech.com/show/12694/assessing-cavium-thunderx2-arm-server-reality

So, if a ThunderX2 server is what you really need, then the Socionext solution will require multiple chassis and the overhead + complexity needed to support them. That is not simpler.
 
Jun 17, 2019
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Interesting links, but I don't see how that's simpler than the ThunderX2. The problem they were trying to solve by using Pi's wasn't simplicity, it was cost.

The ThunderX2 supports dual-CPU, with each CPU having up to 32 out-of-order cores and 128 threads. Compared to that, the Socionext CPU you linked has in-order A53 cores, which should each be less than half as fast as the ThunderX2 cores.

https://www.anandtech.com/show/12694/assessing-cavium-thunderx2-arm-server-reality
Talking about costs, that does not include those numerous switches (to support at least 190 boards), power supplies (again to support that many boards) and custom wiring plus casing. Of course that ARM Cortex-A53 is slower, however in most server applications typically it is the number of cores that matters more (unless the server application specifically requires strong single thread performance).

So, if a ThunderX2 server is what you really need, then the Socionext solution will require multiple chassis and the overhead + complexity needed to support them. That is not simpler.
Actually way less complicated than using Raspberry Pis, and don't need special casing, miles of wiring to hook up every board (for both power and networking) nor lots of network switches. With that Socionext solution, just a few dozen units (with one dozen units is already 288 cores total) and just a single or more network switches. Best of all can simply place on racks without need for custom casing and wiring.
 

bit_user

Splendid
Herald
Talking about costs, that does not include those numerous switches (to support at least 190 boards), power supplies (again to support that many boards) and custom wiring plus casing. Of course that ARM Cortex-A53 is slower, however in most server applications typically it is the number of cores that matters more (unless the server application specifically requires strong single thread performance).
The original STH article goes through all the costs and relative performance, in detail.

I just noticed the link included in the Mott's piece was to the 3rd and final page of that article. Here's the first page:

 
Jun 17, 2019
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The original STH article goes through all the costs and relative performance, in detail.

I just noticed the link included in the Mott's piece was to the 3rd and final page of that article. Here's the first page:

Not only does it costs more, but the hours spent into assembling and setting up the whole cluster as well..
 
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