On Friday MacCentral reported that some researchers are finding Apple Power Mac G4s the wrong shape for clustering. Justin D’Onofrio, who works at a private K-12 school, agrees, but came up with his own solution that involves Apple’s late, underappreciated Cube.
“At the Chapin, we’re pressed for space, so I was looking for a way to fit as many servers as I could into the smallest amount of space,” he told MacCentral. “The G4 towers were too big, iMacs weren’t powerful enough, but the G4 Cube was just right. Well, almost. You still couldn’t stack them, and you had to give them proper ventilation or they would turn off automatically when the heat built up.”
The solution: retrofit the Cube with a cooling system akin to the types of modifications overclocked PCs have. D’Onofrio calls this the “C2” unit. What he did was:
“What I got was a G4 server that ran very cool, and that I could stack up,” D’Onofrio said. “Since the DigitalDoc unit can support up to eight fans, I was planning on having setups with one DigitalDoc per four Cubes. Space-wise, you’d have four G4s in the space that one G4 tower takes up. Perfect for clustering, since you can stack them to the ceiling without having to worry about heat build-up, etc.”
Of course, this was before Apple dropped the Cube, so that sort of puts a damper on the solution. Still, if anyone would like the nitty-gritty details on this project, they can e-mail Donofrio.
Grande Vitesse Systems (GVS), a supplier of integrated system solutions for mission critical data management, storage and distribution, offers rack mounted G4s. GVS designs, develops, manufactures and installs server, storage subsytems and network solutions.
“We showcased at Macworld and had a huge response for our G4 rackmounted in at 2U and 4U enclosure,” Jon Andres of GVS told MacCentral.
Also, Mark Kriegsman, founder of Clearway Techologies, passes along his “quick, effective, and inexpensive way to stack G4s (and G3s):
“It’s a pain in the neck getting inside the machines on the bottom of the stack, but at a total cost of about $2 per machine, this is a great alternative if you don’t need to upgrade or repair the hardware too often,” Kriegsman told MacCentral. “We’ve been doing this since the Blue and White G3s originally came out with the round-edge design, and it works great.”
Finally, as MacCentral reader Ken Fanning points out, an interesting Web site about Macs and computer clustering is the AppleSeed Personal Parallel Computing page.