Computing > General Computing

Used servers on ebay... can they be useful?

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JPortici:
I've been thinking lately about upping my game in the simulation and compilation domain..
I own a macbook and an intel NUC and while their performance is perfectly adequate 90% of the time they become annoyingly slow when it comes to simulations and compilations of projects with many files.
So i have been thinking about these servers you find on ebay which are basically being thrown away with a multitude of Xeon processors and while they don't have stellar single core performances they have an abundance of cores to sort of make up for it.

I remember there being other threads on the subject but i'm unable to find them so.. what's the catch?

my idea here would be to switch it on when necessary (NOT 24/7) and talk to it through the console with no monitor: prepare the project on the desktop, send the project to the machine, hit compile/simulate and retreive the result.
Other uses?

Monkeh:

--- Quote from: JPortici on December 23, 2020, 05:30:57 pm ---I remember there being other threads on the subject but i'm unable to find them so.. what's the catch?

--- End quote ---

They're huge and generally quite loud.

CatalinaWOW:
Having watched a couple of simulation projects based on this concept, I can't give you any real details but can tell you that it works, and works well.  If done properly it also scales fairly easily (you can start with a few servers and add more as budget/needs grow).  Doing task allocation and synchronization is non-trivial.  I know a lot of work went into it and that it was all done using the GNU compilers.  Also wants/needs grow pretty fast too and the electric bill can be surprising.

What I don't know are any of the critical details.  Are all servers useful, or does it require a specific set of capabilities?  How are the compilers used/how much of the task is automated?  How many programmer years of effort were involved?  I do know that programmer years is an appropriate unit of measure.

radar_macgyver:

--- Quote from: JPortici on December 23, 2020, 05:30:57 pm ---my idea here would be to switch it on when necessary (NOT 24/7) and talk to it through the console with no monitor: prepare the project on the desktop, send the project to the machine, hit compile/simulate and retreive the result.

--- End quote ---
Most BIOSes intended for server use tend to be very slow, and boot times can be several minutes long.

Mechatrommer:

--- Quote from: JPortici on December 23, 2020, 05:30:57 pm ---..what's the catch?
--- End quote ---
your simulator/compiler need to support parallel/multi processing, esp the special kind of networked parallel processing you mentioned.

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