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What hardware do I need to support *lots* of RAM

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  • Memory
  • Hardware
  • Support
  • RAM
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April 10, 2006 11:28:22 AM

Hey Gurus,

I have an application that requires humungus 8O quantities of RAM. The app runs in a JVM and I want to run many of these processes on a single box. If I go to the big boys (Dell, HP etc.) it looks like I can get high end servers that support 64 or 128GB RAM on a single box with 64bit Windows.
But 64bit Windows can address *much* more than this. Can anyone give me any clues on where to get hardware that can support 512GB or 1TB of RAM ? (and preferably still be certified to run 64bit Win).

Suggestions for non-Windows high RAM Java applicance also apreciated ! :wink:

Many thanks for any ideas,

bb.

More about : hardware support lots ram

April 10, 2006 12:02:49 PM

That is not an easy task.
When you spent money on your own build it comes on the same.(buying a server) :wink:

But one thing is sure the hardware you need to buy is not for mortals,its
hard to build your own that satisfy your needed specifications.

Buy a server :wink:

Just my oppinion and im not good at it.

GrTz.
April 10, 2006 1:06:17 PM

Quote:
Hey Gurus,

I have an application that requires humungus 8O quantities of RAM. The app runs in a JVM and I want to run many of these processes on a single box. If I go to the big boys (Dell, HP etc.) it looks like I can get high end servers that support 64 or 128GB RAM on a single box with 64bit Windows.
But 64bit Windows can address *much* more than this. Can anyone give me any clues on where to get hardware that can support 512GB or 1TB of RAM ? (and preferably still be certified to run 64bit Win).

Suggestions for non-Windows high RAM Java applicance also apreciated ! :wink:

Many thanks for any ideas,

bb.



In as few words as possible, YOU CAN'T. RAM is limited to the sockets on your board and the size you can get. 4GB chips are only available in PC2100, but it would allow 16-32GB in a server board. Consumer boards only support 4GB.
Related resources
April 10, 2006 1:21:14 PM

A friend of mine just built himself a dream system. He tried to put 4 Gigs in it and had problems. By removing one chip, 3 gigs, it worked. Reasearch on the web indicates its a Windows issue.
His specs..
Asus A8N-SLI Premium
AMD 64 X2 4400+
(2) 7800's in SLI
2 gigs Corsair XMS
April 10, 2006 2:04:10 PM

With out knowing what the app is other than multiple threads on a Java machine I would say you need a cluster. Several computers running as one. A linux based cluster would do the trick. You could spend the money it would take to buy the one huge computer and get more processing power and ram. With as much ram as you are talking just on or two dual core CPUs will not work well. If the single box need is because you want one interface point then a cluster will work nice. If space is a limitation where you want the human interface point then put the cluster some place else and have the master computer where you want it. Just run some cat 6 for Gigibit ether net to the cluster in the basement or spare room.

http://www.mosix.org/ This implimentation is done at the kernel level so you dont even have to change your code to take advantage of the cluster.

EDIT here is a link to the FAQ about Java http://www.mosix.org/faq/output/faq_q0039.html

BTW when you are not running your Java app maybe have Folding at home running on it too!
April 10, 2006 2:59:59 PM

The Tyan Thunder K8QW has support for 4 Opterons, each with 4 memory slots:

http://www.tyanservers.co.uk/tyan_server_boards/opteron...

You can get an upgrade board to increase by 4 cpus with also 4 slots each:

http://www.tyanservers.co.uk/tyan_server_platforms/5u_t...

8 Cpus, each with 4 RAM slots = 32 RAM slots
@ 2GB per slot = 64GB RAM

I think =D

Heres a nice link... just max everything out and hope you have enough money:

http://www.vadim.co.uk/Custom+PCs/Workstations/Custom+N...
April 10, 2006 3:11:42 PM

Well you could look to the owner of Java......

SUN makes servers too

http://www.sun.com/servers/index.jsp

The high end ones run Sparc processors and supports LOTS of RAM
April 10, 2006 4:00:59 PM

Sounds like he wants to run Windows though.

You're not going to just be able to build a box like that. Hardware doesn't support that amount of memory. Even if it did, you'd have to have a gigantic motherboard to put 128 4GB RAM modules into.

You're going to need a cluster for that kind of thing. What are you doing with JVM that requires that much memory?
April 10, 2006 4:07:21 PM

I know but I'm giving the only real option I know of for that much RAM in a server.

Sun has one server which will probably support the JAVA application and supports 576GB of RAM.

I hope you have ALOT of money too.
April 10, 2006 7:46:20 PM

Quote:
http://www.sun.com/servers/highend/sunfire_e25k/index.j...

this system is a god!!.. haha 72 hot swapable processors 576gigs of ram.. 200 redundant power supplies... if this machine could only run BF2 or FEAR.. hummmm....


Only $3,519,247 for the 72 proc version ;)  I wonder if that includes sales tax...?
April 10, 2006 7:57:01 PM

Quote:
http://www.sun.com/servers/highend/sunfire_e25k/index.j...

this system is a god!!.. haha 72 hot swapable processors 576gigs of ram.. 200 redundant power supplies... if this machine could only run BF2 or FEAR.. hummmm....


Only $3,519,247 for the 72 proc version ;)  I wonder if that includes sales tax...?

was that the price or were you just making that up? i didnt look.. but it seems real for some reason..

and i think they might find a way to skirt the sales tax..$263,943.52 is a hell of alot of money for sales tax.. maybe just buy online and not pay the sales tax? haha
April 10, 2006 8:30:47 PM

Seriously. You don't just build a machine like that. I really still want to know what kind of application short of like a simulator needs that much memory. Only places like banks, datacenters, research companies, etc use machines like that.
April 10, 2006 8:34:04 PM

Quote:
A linux based cluster would do the trick

you have my vote

the fact that is a JVM application just make things easier, as java is supposedly platform independent.
i'd bet with $3.5mi you can build a much more than 72proc and 576gig of ram cluster.. much faster also
April 10, 2006 8:59:41 PM

What about dual core? Can that access the same amount of memory? Or does it double? I'd assume it stays the same since it shares the memory controller...And the memory controller is the issue right (or the cache's?)? And if it's the memory controller, why does that affect Intel...hmm, ok so it's not the memory controller then that is the issue? Update me wusy! =)

I've gotta go home and play video games...all this thinking is wearing me down.

meh i couldn't let it go...(i'm obviously playing catch-up here...i haven't stayed very close to the server world...). On multiple cpu boards, there's a limited number of slots available...So then you're limited by how much ram you can put in, and i've read that there is a limit to how big ram sizes get...so you have that as well...So then what? Well then you use virtual ram right? Only instead of hd's, use memory arrays? Am i way out there? You'd then be limited by the bus speeds, and address space? Not to mention hardware available to do these kinds of things...I've read recently about the availablity of pci slot verisions...but who wants 33mb/sec ram...Surely there is something in the works for pci-x and pci-e 16x or 8x... Oh well, i'm going home now...I dont' feel like doing the research right now. Wusy!!! -=)
April 10, 2006 10:24:39 PM

Well Gurus, thanks very much for your advice (so far :wink: )

Given the helpful responses I guess I should share some more details.. the app is a sort of custom index that will grow over 10 years to hold a few billion records. I don't need the 1TB yet but I anticipate that I will with a few more years of data. The problem it tries to solve is to search the entire data set in miliseconds. I'm working on the principle that disk isn't fast enough and RAM will get cheaper... I wouldn't have to stack it full from the start... investment could be spread over time.

The problem is complex - does a bit more than full text like a google. I did look on the market before going down the build route and even looked at the g appliance but it looks like the biggest one will only index 20million records and still set me back $400K ish (ie. $20milion for a billion objects.... although I'd be hoping for a discount :wink: ) Anyway, that makes the Sun box mentioned look like a bargain :D  - I'm guessing that this google thing is stuffed with RAM itself and probably has a custom o/s and no jvm style limitations...

Basically, I just need access to huge quantities of storage that approaches RAM access speeds. If I can't use windows 64 as a platform (to keep the beurocrats happy) then a Linux cluster sounds like a plan -but this thing also looks interesting.. http://www.azulsystems.com/products/cpools_cappliance.h...

apesoccer mentioned memory arrays which sounds interesting although I have no idea what that is - couldn't find much on google :wink:

Still very interested in hearing your ideas !

bb.
April 11, 2006 3:53:34 AM

To me it sounds like your application is not apropriate for a JAVA solution. What you need is a database applciation written to take advantage of a cluster. I also think you need to run your idea by some database programers and see what they say. Do a search on Linux Clustering.

Also dont underestimate hard drives for your application. A TB DB is not that big by even todays standards. A well implimented SAS array will work just fine. And they are going to get faster yet.
April 11, 2006 4:20:53 AM

I tried to add RAM to my overclocked 286, and it won't run the new games.
April 11, 2006 2:17:52 PM

Low End

High End Stuff...1 Terabyte...

The proper term is solid state memory/storage. (edited)

....More Info on the High End:
I/Os Per Second
3,200,000+

Capacity
384 GB - 1 TB


Bandwidth
24 GB per second


Latency
Less than 14 microseconds


Fibre Channel Connection
4-Gigabit Fibre Channel (2-Gigabit capable)
Up to 64 ports available
Supports point-to-point, arbitrated loop, and switched fabric topologies
Interoperable with Fibre Channel Host Bus Adaptors, switches, and operating systems


Management
Browser-enabled system monitoring, management, and configuration
SNMP supported
Telnet management capability
Front panel displays system status and provides basic management functionality
Tera-Watch monitoring software allows you to view all RamSan modules at once.


LUN Support
Up to 64 LUNs per module with variable capacity per LUN
Flexible assignment of LUNs to ports
Hardware LUN masking


Data Retention
Non-volatile solid state disk
Redundant internal batteries power the system for 25 minutes after power loss
Automatically backs up data to disk at 90 MB/sec


Reliability and Availability
ECC memory error protection
Internal redundancies
- Power supplies and fans
- Backup battery power (n+1)
- Backup hard disk drives (RAID3)
Hot-swappable components
- Four backup hard drives (front access)
- Power supplies
Active:p assive Fibre Channel failover (optional)


Backup Procedures
Supports two backup modes that are configurable per system or per LUN:
Data Sync mode - synchronizes data to redundant internal disk drives before shutdown or with power loss
Active BackupTM mode (optional) - backs up data constantly to internal redundant disks without impacting system performance.


Size
(9U to 24U) X 27"


Power Consumption (peak)
900 - 2,500 Watts


Weight (maximum)
270 - 720 lbs
April 11, 2006 2:54:07 PM

If solid state is where it's at...What you really need to decide, is whether this is overkill or not. It may be that you don't need all this ram...that you only need 32gb, 4-8 processors, and some massive redundant raid 5 systems. Which would drop your cost considerably. (edit: i've since taken a look at the link you provided...that is closer to what i was getting at...not as high end as what i provided above...which would be overkill in 99.99% of applications and loads of those apps)

I think the question that needs to be asked, is what are you using now? What problems are you having with it? Are you sure the bottlenecks you're running in to are going to be fixed by this new system AND are you sure this bottleneck isn't cheaper and better fixed with something else? How did you come to the conclusion that memory is your bottleneck?

For a massive database, memory is definately an answer, but so is making sure the database has been written in a manner that is as efficient as possible, while using the best and most efficent software to run it in. Some hardware is better then others obviously as well...You've got your LAN, your server, your WAN, not to mention some older systems possibly holding you back...

Anyway i've said my piece (for the 3rd edit...lol)...Good Luck.

edit 3: More on the bottleneck thing...
!