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Server or Workstation?

Server or Workstation?

Server or Workstation?

(OP)
Hi,
I have to install a network for 3-5 people using FE code Abaqus. Moreover we are developping Fortran and C++ routines for modelling the behaviour of materials. Our budget is limited.
Do you have any idea if we have to choose individual workstations or rather a server?
What are the advantages of a server compared to workstations especially with Abaqus FE simulations?
What would you suggest ?

Thanks for the reply

RE: Server or Workstation?

I think on a server the computational jobs from multiple users have to wait in queue to be run by the solver.

Then, if one user submits a job taking one day to complete and ten users developing Fortran/ C++ code need to submit small jobs but frequently in order to test their code, some of the developing guys might get upset....or not. smile



RE: Server or Workstation?

(OP)
Thanks Xerf.
I think that the queueing problem depends on the number of tokens (Abaqus licenses) not on the fact that it is a server or a workstation .
Imagining that you have enough licences, are Abaqus jobs runned in a queue or together with distributed loads?
It may depend on the number of processors.
Am I right?

Could someone clarify that for me?

Thanks



RE: Server or Workstation?

RGX24,

I did some research into this when I was trying to buy a workstation/server for myself. Main difference between a server and the worksation is the form factor and the scalability. A server in general is highly scalable. You could possibly upgrade to a much higher number of processors and memory in future if there was a need. However generally you pay upfront for this scalability.
A server does not have a desktop form factor. Also a server does not have any graphic capabilites.

A workstation will have good processing and graphics capabilites. So the choice depends on your needs. Do you think you will need to upgrade in future? Also do you need the graphics capability in this machine? Are people going to use this machine for any pre or post processing?

Thanks,
Gurmeet

RE: Server or Workstation?

(OP)
Dear Gurmeet,
thanks for your reply. I will definitively need to upgrade in the future. For my team, I bought a dell server double quadcore Xeon (16Gb) with a MD 1000 storage solution. All the disks are 15krpm.  My concern was, as you said, about the graphic display. So I decided that the users will run their CAE and Viewer tools locally on their machine.
Do you know any other solutions?

regards

Regis

RE: Server or Workstation?

RGX124,

From my memory Itanium and AMD Opteron processros were faster than the Xeon chip. I bought a dual processor AMD Opteron 250 workstation with 8GB memory from IBM. The workstation has good graphics capabilities. It has SUSE Linux operating system. The other alternatives that I considered were HP Itanium based machine and Silicon Graphics server (also based on AMD Opteron chips). I did not go for Silicon Graphics due to the poor financial state of the company. The HP machine was more expensive by about $10000.

The system worked beautifully for 1-1/2 years. However now it has been in repair for about 6 weeks. The IBM service response has been deplorable. This was supposed to be next day onsite service. We suspect a thermal problem or memory problem. IBM have changed a number of parts including memory but machine is still freezing.

I think your solution should be ok, as long as you have enough memory and processing power for the jobs you are expected to run in the time frame that your company considers reasonable.

Gurmeet

RE: Server or Workstation?

RGX124,

This is further note to problem I was having with my workstation. We turned a standby fan in the workstation on permanently. Earlier the fan used to kick on and off as reuqired. By turning this fan permanently on seems to have solved the problem.

So workstation had a bad memory and also a thermal problem. Why the workstation developed this thermal problem after 1-1/2 years I do not know.

Gurmeet

RE: Server or Workstation?

The main different between a server and workstation is that server is 5 to 10 times the cost of a workstation. I agree that a server can handle more jobs because it can have more memory and cpu. And they can run a job slightly faster (if the cpu and IO speed is fast).

However, I find by the speed of the cpu technology now days is very close to the server. In term of costing, it is more value for money and faster in long term if you change your workstation every 2 years rather then having a very expensive server for 10 year which will be very slow compare to the latest workstation in 5 years time.

Beware that IO speed when running ABAQUS is as important as the CPU. So get a fast hard disk is very important. And try to write the temp files and Abaqus output in a different physical hard disk.

Moreover, ABAQUS run approximately 25% faster in Linus compared to window. So try to install ABAQUS in LINUS if you looking for speed.

RE: Server or Workstation?

Yoman228, assuming Linus=Linux and window=Windows, then
your statement

Quote (Yoman228):


Moreover, ABAQUS run approximately 25% faster in Linus compared to window. So try to install ABAQUS in LINUS if you looking for speed.

is based on  ......?

What specific distro and version of Linux and Windows and what type of analysis are you referring to ?

RE: Server or Workstation?

We had installed a window xp (32bit) in one computer, and on an identical computer on a Linux (64bit) computer. The Linux computer always run faster in the analysis we were running. The computer we had is a twin Xeon (32bit).

The analysis we tested is a highly nonlinear static, general problem with very small time step. Although the testing is very small scale, I was told that window use more resource in graphic compares to Linux.

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