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4/22/2002: The lunchbox gets a makeover!

Bento, aka the lunchbox cluster, is our newest LinuxBIOS/BProc cluster. Okay, so it's really in a toolbox, so think of it as a lunchbox for the really hungry. Thanks to Rob Armstrong and Mitch Williams of the Embedded Reasoning Institute at Sandia - Livermore for turning us on to this hardware. They're way ahead of us in terms of picking out good, small iron since they're sending their's up in the nose cone of a missle.

This is a nice little demo unit to take around the country. It's been through a lot already -- Ron's was randomly selected to have his all his bag searched ("uh, what's that?" said security), and now he's blacklisted forever. But more importantly, it's been great way for us to get real, kernel-level development work done while traveling. For example, in Houston Matt was able to work on Supermon when (not) in meetings. Ron integrated Lm_sensors into Supermon in California. You just can't do that unless you have a cluster that can be easily rebooted (i.e., on-site).

Bento: the cluster-in-a-lunchbox

Bento in its full glory. Notice the two airflow holes drilled on the side. The nodes are in the bottom and the naked hub is mounted to the lid. Ignore mess on Ron's desk.

smartCord nodes smartCord nodes

The larger boards on each end are the power supplies. There are three boards on one and four on the other. Power definitely needs a redesign. You hear the fans slow down when running a real (floating-point intensive) application. Oops!

We took the Hub out of the case, so it would fit into the lunchbox. We started with a little Netgear switch, but that got way too hot. Interestingly enough, we found that 6-ish nodes actually come up faster through a hub than a switch.

Naked 3Com Hub

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