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SubjectRE: Over 4-way systems considered harmful :-)
> I don't see how this is a win for me. And it is a win for IBM only if it
> gives them some advantage in serving their customers. I can certainly
> *conceive* of workloads bursty enough to justify an 8-processor server, but
> do they exist in the real world? And if they do, is a single 8-processor
> server better than a pair of 4-processor servers when you take graceful
> handling of faults into account? IBM has been building high-availability
> systems for *decades*, preferring to field *slightly* slower but
> *significantly* more reliable gear, which, legend has it, no one has ever
> been fired for purchasing. :-)

We (Sequent, now bought by IBM) sold 64 processor servers to people
who needed them (the main market was large databases) so, yes, there
is definitely a market for larger systems. It's cheaper to build a big processor
farm out of a Beowulf style cluster, but it's not always easy / possible to
split up your application over something like that. If you're generating
fractals, it's easy, for other applications, it's not.

> Perhaps effort should be placed into software development processes and
> tools that deny race conditions the right to be born, rather than depending
> on testing on a 16-processor system to find them expeditiously :-). And

I wish you good fortune, sir. When you've acheived that, come back and
tell me, and we'll stop testing stuff ;-) It's always better to not code bugs in
the first place, but that's not the world we live in ...

> there is a whole discipline of software performance engineering to build
> performance in from the start. Advances like that would be a *huge* win for
> the Linux community, given our (relative) freedom from corporate-world
> limitations like deadlines, sales quotas, programmer salaries, and
> full-color brochures.

I'm all for encouraging good programming practices. In a way that's actually
harder in the diverse Linux community with hundreds, nay, thousands of
engineers putting code in. But we should still try - keeping the infrastructure
simple helps, for example. Trying to bug fix badly designed / written code is
pissing into the wind.

M.

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