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Help me setup a network of 6 computers into a render farm

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  • Networking
Last response: in Networking
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October 19, 2010 6:53:33 AM

Hey Community,

I dont have to much knowledge when it comes to networking so i thought i would seek some advice. I need to know what kind of equipment i will need (routers, switches, etc). Just let me know what you would use. I just bought the parts for 3 8-core systems and I want to hook them all up efficiently to my existing setup.

current setup:

8-core 2.8ghz 2008 Mac Pro workstation (osx 10.6.4) (dual Gb nic)
4-core i7 HTCP hackintosh and potential render node (osx 10.6.4) (single nic)
i3 dual core FreeNas server (dual gb nic)

just ordered the parts for :

(3) dual e55620 (2.26ghz) 8-core render nodes (dual Gb nic)


I primary do Maya mental ray renders, but also after effects. so i am gonna see if i can hackintosh the 8-cores, but if not they will be Linux

at the moment i have the three computers all running through a apple airport extreme. I also have two laptops on the wireless.

ideally i would like to have the Mac Pro, the HTCP,and the 3 new 8-core's to all be render nodes. the FeeNas would be the file server. (36 cores !!!!!!!!!)

Questions-

whats the best way to network these suckers together?
can i just get a 8-port Gb switch an hook the 5 main computers that will render up to the FreeNas server? and then also attach the airport extreme for internet and access for the wireless laptops?

do i need just one box (router?) that the cable modem, the freeNas, the 5 render computers all hook into that also has N wireless.

-switch, router...hub? swtich to router? router on router?yeah i am a noob here, sorry......

-since the 5 of the computers have dual gb nic's should i explore NIC pairing, does this really increase performance

any thoughts or suggestions would be awesome, but if you can please recommend some specific hardware. lynksys? netgear ? what would you guys use to hook all this crap up?????

More about : setup network computers render farm

Anonymous
January 26, 2011 12:25:40 PM

auze1 said:
Hey Community,

I dont have to much knowledge when it comes to networking so i thought i would seek some advice. I need to know what kind of equipment i will need (routers, switches, etc). Just let me know what you would use. I just bought the parts for 3 8-core systems and I want to hook them all up efficiently to my existing setup.


Hi Azure,

I'm trying to do exactly this. How have you got on? What did you find out?

Did you encounter and problems? What did you learn? What do you need to watch out for?

THANKS

John
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Anonymous
January 26, 2011 6:07:22 PM




Thanks, I saw that as well.

Unfortunately, it doesn't answer some key questions...

I've seen a few people asking the same questions and the nuts of them are:

1. What cables to connect the computers (I'm presuming 1GB ethernet, for the budget concious)
2. What configuration (I'm presuming: NAS and AIRPORT/WIFI plug into the 8 port switch, all the PCs plug into the 8 port switch, and so does the render farm that I've built)
BUT:
3. What do I use as a patchbay on the render nodes, where do I get this?
4. What software can I use to control all the computers (so they become nodes) and the farm as well -- so that I use all the horsepower?
5. How do I send the command from Maya, Max and Nuke, so that they use all the computers and the render farm?
6. What OS do I use on the nodes and the computers... does it matter?
7. How do I set up each individual computer -- do they all need an individual IP, for example? Do they have to be in the same range? Do they all need the same software? Do they need the to be running the render manager?

Thoughts?

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January 26, 2011 11:57:29 PM

Quote:
Thanks, I saw that as well.

Unfortunately, it doesn't answer some key questions...

I've seen a few people asking the same questions and the nuts of them are:

1. What cables to connect the computers (I'm presuming 1GB ethernet, for the budget concious)
2. What configuration (I'm presuming: NAS and AIRPORT/WIFI plug into the 8 port switch, all the PCs plug into the 8 port switch, and so does the render farm that I've built)
BUT:
3. What do I use as a patchbay on the render nodes, where do I get this?
4. What software can I use to control all the computers (so they become nodes) and the farm as well -- so that I use all the horsepower?
5. How do I send the command from Maya, Max and Nuke, so that they use all the computers and the render farm?
6. What OS do I use on the nodes and the computers... does it matter?
7. How do I set up each individual computer -- do they all need an individual IP, for example? Do they have to be in the same range? Do they all need the same software? Do they need the to be running the render manager?

Thoughts?

For a basic setup where your using consumer grade hardware for the network infastructure, I'd say your on the right track with a gigabit switch and the airport attached to that switch.

1. Cat 6 / 6e (the 6e isn't needed, but will be the standard in the future spend the $$$ if you want but won't help much in today's world)
2. Looks like you've got the solution there
3. Patchbay on the render nodes...? lost me here. You could put a patch panel in the network here, but for this small of a setup I wouldn't. Just run the cables directly from computer to switch.
4-7 - Uhhhhhh..... <drool> I dunno, sorry.

A better setup might be to have a gigabit network running through all of the secondary NIC's on the computers so that only the rendering network traffic happens on those network adapters, cables and switch; without random internet traffic on that infrastructure your guaranteed the fastest throughput. As far as linking the two adapters together, that requires very special network equipment, and is really more of a two device link, rather than a whole network setup.

The ultimate hardware would be a quality managed switch with vlans and such, then you get dedicated hardware, you can have your two networks, one for general/internet use, and one dedicated to a render, but all on one 24 port switch.

Then there's infiniband and other exotic links derived for cluster networks, but that's another whole ball of wax, and we leave traditional ethernet behind.
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March 5, 2011 8:48:59 PM

Quote:
Hi Azure,

I'm trying to do exactly this. How have you got on? What did you find out?

Did you encounter and problems? What did you learn? What do you need to watch out for?

THANKS

John

S

Sorry John I missed your question till now. I got a 8 port net gear switch and cat 6 cables. Internet runs from the modem into my switch. All the other computers are hooked into the switch. I also have a airport extreme hooked into the switch to distribute wireless. All the computers have a static ip

I have a freeNas box as my server. All the cables are cat6. The speed seems pretty good. All the machines are osx( accept the freenas of corse) so I just use screen sharing to manage them. I use smedge 2010 which works great. I have used dealine and that ugly ass qube, and I really prefer smedge. It's easy and straightforward.
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